Our weekly choice of relevant news on competition policy in developing countries. For daily information follow us on twitter
DWA WEEKLY NEWS FROM 11/07/2016 TO 15/07/2016
The competition watchdog has fined the Kenyan subsidiary of British multinational SABMiller $23.7 thousand for engaging in restrictive trade practices by setting minimum prices for its products.
The hearing of the landmark Sh87 billion claim against key players in the tea industry began before a three-judge bench yesterday as defendants in the case asked the court to strike it out with costs.
LafargeHolcim has agreed to sell its stake in Lafarge India to Nirma Ltd for an entrerprise value of approximately $1.4 billion, the world’s largest cement producer said in a statement on Monday.
The Competition Commission said that it appeared that Transnet was charging much higher than the global average for its services and that has motivated the commission to launch an investigation.
Chile’s Senate approved late Wednesday a bill that will penalize collusion with jail sentences of up to 10 years and hefty fines, amid public outcry for the slap-on-the-wrist punishments dished out after a raft of recent price-fixing cases.
DWA WEEKLY NEWS FROM 04/07/2016 TO 08/07/2016
“Marriott International, Inc. today announced it has received authorization from competition authorities in Saudi Arabia and Mexico to proceed with its acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in a merger transaction.”
“Russian federal competition regulator FAS has postponed a decision about fining Google, reports Prime, following an appeal by the search engine. Google was accused of violating the Law on Competition in September 2015.”
“The chairperson of the Namibian Competition Commission Sackey Akweenda on Friday announced the appointment of the commission’s director for mergers and acquisitions, Vitalis Ndalikokule, as acting chief executive officer.”
“An executive at China Resources Beer today said he believes the country’s competition authority is set to clear Anheuser-Busch InBev’s (AB InBev) takeover of SABMiller. “We don’t see any obstacle so far in getting a green light from China authorities,” chief financial officer Tomakin Lai said, reported Reuters. “We are confident that the deal can eventually get approval.””
News from the 27th of June to the 3rd of July 2016
“Ser Educacional SA will use all legal means to ensure a merger between Brazil’s two largest education companies, Estácio Participações SA and Kroton Educacional SA, meets antitrust rules, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters”
“CADE did not specify where the raids were conducted but said police suspected some of Brazil’s largest construction companies, including Odebrecht SA, OAS SA and Andrade Gutierrez SA, were active members of a cartel. All have been linked to corruption at oil projects.”
“The Superintendency of Industry and Trade of Colombia (SIC) fined 208,000 million pesos (70 million dollars) to three companies and 16 of their managers for artificially increasing the price of disposable baby diapers.”
“The Competition Tribunal, which gives the final word on mergers in Africa’s most industrialized country, said in a statement that concessions made by AB InBev to get the deal approved were designed to address both public interest and competition concerns arising from the merger.”
“Chinese regulators are closely examining the pricing methods of local and foreign drugmakers for any antitrust violations, according to a state-run financial newspaper, as the government conducts a wide-ranging campaign to regulate prices of medicines.”
“Indonesia’s anti-monopoly agency has proposed abolishing a cattle import quota system and replacing it with tariffs, in a bid to break the stranglehold of local cartels blamed for surging beef prices, its chief told Reuters”
“Safaricom-backed online taxi-hailing app Little Cab has sparked off a price war with rivals Uber and Mondo Ride by setting lower tariffs compared to its two global competitors.”
News from the 11th to the 17th of June 2016
“A judge in Brazil has overturned an appeal ruling and decided to reinstate permission for steelmaker CSN to make appointments to the board of rival Usiminas, in which CSN has a stake”. CADE had originally allowed the appointments
The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) has urged lawmakers to give Nigeria a competition law before the end of this year
“Speaking at a ‘Walk for Competition Bill’ in Lagos, NECA Director-General Mr. Segun Oshinowo said there was nothing to cheer despite the bill passing second reading in the House of Representatives. According to him, there is nothing to cheer, because previous attempts to pass the bill even passed this stage before they were abandoned.”
“The three new complaints pertain to abuse of dominant position by way of imposing discriminatory conditions in sub- licence agreements, similar to the previous two allegations in which the Commission ordered a probe in February this year.”
“The accusations arise from billing guidelines released in 2010 by the SA Medical Association, which said paediatricians treating premature babies in intensive care could charge 50% more than they would charge for normal weight and aged babies.”
“The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has urged Globe Telecom Inc., PLDT Inc., and San Miguel Corp. (SMC) to immediately refile the notification for the P69.1-billion buyout deal effectively changes the landscape of the telecom industry.”
“The DA will request that the Competition Commission launch a full-scale investigation into the alleged collusion between SAA and Mango Airliners that has seen the latter being able to offer drastically discounted flights through subleasing of aircraft at discounted rates by SAA.”
“THE Competition Commission has confirmed that it is investigating Emirates Airline for abuse of dominance under the Competition Act, after claims that it offered incentives to travel agents to divert sales from competitors.”
“A Chilean federal prosecutor has asked the country’s competition court for a $15.5 million fine against Pfizer Inc. subsidiary GD Searle LLC for improperly obtaining a patent to extend protections for an arthritis drug that was essentially the same”
News from the 4th to the 10th of June 2016
“On 1 June 2016, China’s NDRC formally launched a large scale and systematic antitrust and price inspection into China’s pharmaceutical and medical devices industries. This follows questionnaires previously issued by the NDRC over the past weeks to companies active in the healthcare sector. The investigation focuses on compliance with both antitrust and other price-related laws.”
“Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s $107 billion acquisition of SABMiller Plc is nearing Chinese approval after the companies agreed to divest the maker of Snow beer, the world’s top-selling brand, according to people familiar with the matter.”
“Brazil’s CADE approved Banco Bradesco SA’s purchase of HSBC Holdings Plc’s local unit under conditions, marking the latest departure of a foreign lender from one of the world’s most concentrated banking markets” One of the conditions was that the resulting entity is to refrain from making any rival acquisitions for at least 30 months.
“Anheuser-Busch InBev has offered to improve a South African employee-share plan after a union there said it would file an appeal opposing approval of the brewer’s planned $1.7 billion takeover of rival SABMiller.”
“On Monday eight countries in the 15-member bloc signed a memorandum of understanding that will form the basis of their collaboration to strengthen competition law in the region.”
Offers to buy Rio de Janeiro-based Estácio Participações SA face “tough antitrust scrutiny, as a prior round of takeovers left market leader Kroton with twice as many students as Estácio, and a likely rejection from Estácio shareholders. Shares of Estácio are up 36 percent since Thursday, suggesting investors expect suitors to sweeten offers”
“Indonesia is preparing a tougher antimonopoly law, allowing the antimonopoly body to launch a cross-border probe into Southeast Asia-based entities and raising the maximum fine to 30 percent of a cartel’s revenue.” The current maximum fine is around 1.8 million USD
“A Competition Commission investigation into price fixing that involved listed Steinhoff International and implicated other firms, including Loungefoam, Feltex and Kap Industrial Holdings has resulted in a settlement agreement for the non-notification of a merger.”
The family runs a fertilizer business that allegedly fixed the commissions paid to distributor of its and other firms’ products.
News from the 28th of May to the 3rd of June 2016
Nigeria’s proposed competition law is meeting hard resistance.
Competition Commission [of South Africa] recommends merger of AB InBev and SABMiller‚ with conditions
One more step for the mega merger that is still awaiting approval in other markets such as the US and China. One of our posts with an analysis here
“The Competition Tribunal, the independent body that adjudicates competition matters, on Tuesday fined two wholesalers, R4‚6 million to Omnico and R4‚2 million to Coolheat Cycles, after they were implicated in a bicycle price-fixing scandal”.
“Firms engaging in cartel-like behaviour will be fined up to 10 per cent of their gross turnover if a new proposed law is approved.”
“CARICOM’s Competition Commission (CCC) has launched an investigation into the acquisition of by Cable and Wireless Communications Plc (CWC) to acquire Columbus International.”
“Beer distributors have been barred from setting the selling prices as the move is un-competitive and amounts to ‘price-fixing’.”
News from the 21th to the 27th of May 2016
The cartel is being investigated in numerous Latin American countries, now the SIC has imposed a substantial fine in a new effort in its fight against price-fixing cartels. (Source article in Spanish)
The company said it has plans to open business in Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania within a month. It will be interesting to see how local authorities, taxi drivers and other stakeholders react this time.
Chinese media reported that the NDRC was “planning to launch ‘large-scale and systematic’ anti-trust investigation into foreign and local drug firms.”
“South Africa’s Competition Commission said it’s searching offices of packaging-paper producers Mpact Ltd. and New Era Packaging (Pty) Ltd., as part of an investigation into allegations of pricing collusion involving the two companies”
The transaction was approved under certain conditions between the two rival telecommunications firms.
Eighteen companies and 46 individuals are under investigation.
Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento (CIE) confirmed it was notified by the COFECE of an investigation over relative monopolistic conduct.
“The Head of the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU), Syarkawi Rauf, said that his Commission will begin an investigation into Lion Air’s decision to suspend services to 56 destinations for a month without any reasonable justification”.