It is one of the less known functions of the Competition Authority but last year when the Tsetseng Retail Group (which trades as Spar Supermarket) sought to merge with Kimbo Investments (trading as Food Lovers’ Market and Payless Supermarket), the Authority made it clear that the merger could only happen on condition that the former committed to buy from local producers and employ all the existing staff at Food Lovers Market which is located at Railpark Mall in Gaborone.
Two months earlier when the Tsetseng Retail Group sought to merge with Tutume Spar, the Authority’s condition was that the former would not only buy from local producers, not only in Tutume but also in other areas where their stores are located. It was also required to commit to employ all the existing staff of Tutume Spar. In the case of Transport Holding acquiring Mulbridge Transport, the Authority insisted that the merged entity should ensure that proper procedures are followed in line with the labour laws of Botswana to ensure that “every employee receives the due severance benefits, and wherever reasonably possible, they will endeavour to create employment for the concerned employees by negotiating with their suppliers and customers.”
The Authority approves mergers with conditions when – following the assessment, it determines that a remedy, undertaking or condition, can address the competition or public interest concerns identified.
“Through the assessment and review of some mergers and acquisitions in 2014/15, the Authority facilitated the injection of over P145 million into existing businesses in Botswana. It further facilitated technological and skills transfer and creation of more jobs. Following the decision by the Authority that the Tsetseng Retail Group of Spars should commit to source horticultural products from local farmers, it is envisaged that local horticultural producers will find a sustainable market and hopefully expand their businesses,” says the Authority’s 2014/15 annual report.
Following the takeover of BancABC Botswana by Atlas Mara, the Authority expects competition to be enhanced in the local banking sector which is dominated by the First National Bank, Barclays Banks and Standard Chartered Bank.
“Atlas Mara is expected to bring in capital injection and its international experience in the banking sector in terms of diverse product offering. It is anticipated that these advantages would place BancABC at par with the giants in the sector and create vigorous competition and better trading terms for businesses and consumers at large,” the Authority says.