On 20 September 2012 the Competition Tribunal conditionally
approved the large merger involving Oceana Group Limited and
V&A Cold Storage (Proprietary) Limited. The Tribunal's
reasons for the approval were issued on 6 November 2012.
Oceana is listed on both the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the
Namibian Stock Exchange. The transaction involves the acquisition
of the business of V&A Cold Storage by a subsidiary of
In assessing the merger, the Competition Commission defined the
market as the broader Cape Town market for the cold storage of
packaged fish and non-fish products, as well as a separate market
for the handling and cold storage at the Table Bay Harbour of loose
and packaged fish destined for export. The Tribunal found that the
businesses of the parties overlap in respect of the provision of
cold storage space and related services in the broader Cape Town
The Commission found that the transaction is not likely to raise
any competition concerns in the broader Cape Town market for the
cold storage of packaged fish and non-fish products. In respect of
the Table Bay Harbour market, however, the Commission found that
the transaction would grant Oceana a 75 % share of the market. The
Commission also found that the barriers to entry in this market
were high due to the restricted space available at the
As a result of the possible anti-competitive effect of the
transaction, the parties to the merger submitted a set of
conditions, which the Tribunal accepted. These conditions
effectively ensure that third-party cold storage customers will
have adequate access, on a non-discriminatory basis, to
Oceana's cold storage facilities at the Table Bay
Dominant firms are prohibited by the Competition Act 1998 from charging excessive prices to the detriment of consumers. Why only dominant firms? The presumption is that a small firm will lose its customers to its competitors if it charges excessive prices.
The Competition Commission recently found a dual distribution restraint to amount to a market allocation agreement between competitors, which is outright unlawful under the Competition Act, 89 of 1998.
With regard to competition or anti-trust laws, currently there is no significant body of law in the UAE dealing with these issues.
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