Commission conditionally approves Oceana's acquisition of certain interests and assets in the fishing and cold storage industries.

On 9 July 2012 the Competition Commission (Commission) conditionally approved two separate but related transactions in terms of which Oceana Group Limited (acting through subsidiary companies) acquired interests, shares and assets in the fishing and cold storage industries from various companies within the African Marine Products (Proprietary) Limited Group (AMP), Phambili Fishing (Proprietary) Limited (Phambili) and Bato Star Fishing (Proprietary) Limited (Bato Star).

The main transaction involved the sale of fishing interests, businesses, shares and assets by Oceana Group Limited (Oceana), acting through its wholly owned subsidiaries Blue Continent Products (Proprietary) Limited (BCP) and Oceana Lobster Limited (Oceana Lobster). This transaction involved acquisitions from various companies within the AMP, Phambili and Bato Star. Various acquisitions were made in respect of the sole, hake, south coast rock lobster and horse mackerel markets.

Upon investigation of the effect of the transaction on the relevant markets, the Commission concluded that the transaction was unlikely to result in anti-competitive effects as long as third parties that have existing catching arrangements with the target entities would continue to have access to fishing vessels in order to catch their quotas.

The second transaction, which constituted a small merger, involved the acquisition by Oceana's subsidiary Commercial Cold Storage (Proprietary) Limited (CCS) of the cold store business of V&A Cold Store (Proprietary) Limited (V&A). V&A's cold storage facilities are located at the Cape Town quayside. CCS owns and manages public refrigerated warehouse facilities in the main industrial centres and harbours of South Africa.

In its assessment of the effects of the merger on competition, the Commission defined the relevant market as the quayside cold storage market for loose fish and fish destined for the export market. The transactions were approved subject to conditions, which in the case of the fishing transaction related to employment, and in respect of the cold store transaction concerned access to cold store facilities.

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