On 14 November 2012 the Competition Appeal Court (CAC) upheld an
appeal by the Competition Commission against a decision of the
Competition Tribunal, which set aside the Commission's
complaint referral against South African Breweries Limited (SAB)
and several of its independent distributors.
The referral originated from the Commission's investigation of
a complaint lodged by various retail and wholesale alcohol
distributors. The Commission's referral was based on evidence
of collusion, price discrimination, and anti-competitive conduct
between a manufacturer and its suppliers, including the setting of
a minimum price.
The Commission further alleged that, in terms of its wholesaler
and franchise agreements, SAB appointed independent distributors in
various locations. These distributors were not permitted to compete
with one another in the territories in which they were allocated.
The Commission also alleged that SAB would not undercut its
distributors to prevent customers purchasing directly from
The Commission concluded that SAB's conduct constituted the
unlawful division and allocation of a market and/ or customers, and
that the company was a party to an anti-competitive agreement
between parties in a vertical relationship. The Commission as
result extended the complaint to include the setting of a minimum
price as well as price discrimination.
The CAC ruled that the essential question to be determined was
whether the complaint that formed part of the initiating documents
and the referral of the Commission contained the same complaint
that was lodged by the various retail and wholesale alcohol
After a factual analysis, the CAC concluded that the initial
complaint lodged by the alcohol distributors was sufficiently broad
that, following an investigation, the Commission was able to more
specifically define and amplify the various contraventions of the
The final referral to the Tribunal therefore sufficiently
reflected the original complaint. The CAC granted the appeal and
set aside the decision of the Tribunal. As result, the merits of
the Commission's referral against SAB and the other respondents
may now be heard by the Tribunal.
Sub-Saharan Africa is primed for an era of sustainable growth. As other markets across Latin America and Asia face short-term challenges and many advanced economies decelerate, the outlook remains encouraging for sub-Saharan Africa to gather speed and create greater opportunities for its rapidly growing population.
The United Arab Emirates ("UAE") recently introduced its competition law: Federal Law No. 4 of 2012 ("Competition Law").
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