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One might think that competition law would applaud a firm that submits an independent and competitive bid, in response to a tender aimed at lowering prices.  Recent experience in South Africa suggests that this is not always the case, and that such a firm may face investigation by the competition authorities precisely because it won the competitive tender. In October 2017, the South African Competition Commission announced that it has initiated, and is investigating, a…
(The full version of this bulletin was originally published on Fasken.com – “The Competition Commission’s Market Inquiry into Data Services” – September 12th, 2017.) On 18 September 2017, the Competition Commission is expected to commence a market inquiry into data services in South Africa. This is the sixth market inquiry to be initiated by the Commission. The inquiry comes after public submissions to Parliament that South Africa’s data costs are high relative to…
On 7 June 2017 the Competition Commission South Africa will commence a market inquiry into the public passenger transport sector. This is the fifth market inquiry to be initiated by the Commission, following inquiries into the LPG, healthcare, grocery retail and banking sectors. What does the Commission intend to investigate? In terms of the Terms of Reference (published on 10 May 2017), the Commission will explore how competition in the public passenger transport sector is…
On 17 June 2015, the Competition Appeal Court of South Africa (CAC) overturned the Competition Tribunal’s decision which found Sasol Chemical Industries Limited (Sasol) guilty of excessive pricing. The CAC’s judgment is thorough and the factual, legal, accounting and economic issues covered are complicated. Although redeeming for Sasol, the judgment may give rise to a number of significant implications for future enforcement action against excessive pricing South Africa. We set out below a review…
The year of 2014 marked the 15 year anniversary of the South African Competition Authorities. The year’s highlights included some important merger decisions, implementation of the Competition Commission’s powers in relation to market inquiries, development of the law prohibiting excessive pricing, the appointment of a new Commissioner and important clarification of regional merger control laws elsewhere in Africa. Mergers The number of mergers notified in the period April 2013 to March 2014 decreased slightly to…
This note summarizes the recent decision of the South African Competition Tribunal, which found Sasol Chemical Industries guilty of excessive pricing. South Africa is one of the few competition law jurisdictions that actively pursues cases of ‘excessive pricing’ by dominant firms.  The Competition Commission had alleged that Sasol had charged domestic customers excessive prices for purified propylene and polypropylene.  The Tribunal upheld the Commission’s allegations, and ordered Sasol to pay an administrative penalty of…
The South African Competition Commission has recently concluded its investigation into the potential effects on competition of exclusive lease agreements between supermarkets and their landlords. This note explains the implications of the Commission’s decision for firms that rely on exclusive lease agreements.  Arguments for and against exclusive lease agreements Supermarkets often play the role of ‘anchor tenant’ in a shopping centre.  They draw consumers into the centre, who then spend their money not only on…
The year of 2013 provided further opportunity for development of South Africa’s competition policy, law and practice. The year’s highlights included the conclusion of the Competition Commission’s Fast Track Settlement  process involving bid rigging in the construction sector; some important merger decisions; developments in the law on pursuit of private damages; and clarity on numerous procedural matters in enforcement actions. These are elaborated upon further below. Mergers Merger Regulation Trends 324 mergers were notified to…