Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Warbler Holdings acquisition rekindles Choppies, Sefalana rivalry

The recent decision by Ramachandran Ottapathu, a director at Choppies Enterprises to acquire Warbler Holdings (Pty) could regenerate the rivalry that was once seen between two leading retailer groups, Sefalana Holdings and Choppies Enterprise.  A few years ago the two competitors locked horns when Choppies acquired the Supa Save supermarket. The acquisition was later approved by the Competition Authority on the basis that it was not anti-competition. 

This past Monday, Sefalana group led other retailers such as Furnmart to oppose the proposed takeover of Warbler Holdings (Pty) Ltd by businessman, Ramachandran.  

Ramachandran who is the sole owner of BLUEHEARTS (PTY) LTD, and a director at Choppies Enterprise, a direct competitor of Sefalana Holdings has since notified the market of his intention to acquire the entire issued shareholding of Warbler Holdings (Pty) Ltd in IT4Africa (Pty) Ltd; Goldtech (Pty) Ltd; Healthwest Africa (Pty) Ltd; and Solid Logistics (Pty) Ltd. 

On Monday Sefalana led the companies that made counter arguments against Ramachandran’s intentions classifying it as “unfair” competition. Sefalana which was represented by its managing director Hans Kampann and Group Finance director Mohamed Osman presented a lengthy letter in which they gave details of why they opposed the proposed acquisition. 

Following the public hearing and the lengthy letter submitted by Sefalana, the Competition Authority noted that it shall release its decision on the matter on a later date. The decision is likely to be made within 30 days and could be key determinant on whether Choppies goes ahead with its alleged departmental stores model. 

Warbler Holdings is incorporated in accordance with the Laws of the Republic of Botswana, and is a holding company for IT4Africa (Pty) Ltd, Goldtech (Pty) Ltd, Healthwest Africa (Pty) Ltd and Solid Logistics (Pty) Ltd, the target enterprises. The director of Warbler Holdings is Mr. Meempat R. Narayan. The four subsidiaries are incorporated in accordance with the Laws of the Republic of Botswana and are primarily operational in Gaborone. 

IT4Africa is a wholesaler and supplies the following products to air-corn dealers, value added providers, resellers and retailers in Gaborone and other parts of the country(Botswana): Computers; Cell phones; Tablets and accessories; Anti-virus and Security software products; Mobile Phones; Air-cons; Printers; Projectors; Scanners  and Accessories. The following are brands that IT4Africa trades in: Acer Computers; eScan; Hisense; Epson; Lexmark; and Samsung. 

Goldtech Holdings is a wholesaler and supplies the following products to retail stores, value added providers and resellers in Gaborone and other parts of the country (Botswana): Home and Kitchen appliances; Personal Grooming Products; and Consumer Electronics under the brand name of Samsung; Kenwood; Wahl and Sinotec.

Healthwest Africa sells home appliances & consumer electronics; and personal grooming and kitchen appliances under the brand name of Hisense and Philips. Healthwest sells its products primarily in Gaborone. 

Solid Logistics provides logistics, warehousing and freight services currently to its associated companies being: IT4Africa; Goldtech and Healthwest Africa. 

Should the Competition Authority allow Choppies to acquire these companies, it is highly likely that it will roll out more stores in the same format as Wal-mart’s Game Store. 

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