Comesa approves US$1bn mergers

South Africa-city centreThe Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) approved more than US$1bn in mergers in nine member states last year

According to COMESA Competition Commission (CCC) chief executive officer, George Lipimile, the regional economic community (REC) was fulfilling its role as a one-stop shop for the assessment of cross-border transactions, thus reducing the burden and cost of doing business in the bloc.

“Therefore such transactions no longer need to be examined in each member state. Currently, the number of mergers notified with the Commission stands at 13, with nine of them having already been approved by the Committee of Initial Determination.

The estimated values of these transactions are well over US$1bn,’’ Lipimile elaborated.

The CCC addresses the challenges posed by the globalisation of businesses and economies that have led to a continuous rise in the number of multi-jurisdiction merger filings.

“This led the member states to the establishment of a framework for merger review and cooperation among interested agencies,’’ he added. Among the key mergers approved in 2013 include one between Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV and Funai Electronic Company Limited, involving Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Uganda and Zambia. Another notable transaction was the takeover of Cipla Medpro, a South African pharmaceutical company by Cipla India involving all the COMESA member states.

The Commission is the first regional competition authority in Africa and the second in the world, after the European Competition Authority.

Nawa Mutumweno

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