Competition Tribunal finalises cases: Caxton/Ramsay Media, VKB Flour Mills etc

Competition Tribunal finalises cases: Caxton/Ramsay Media, VKB Flour Mills etc

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The Competition Tribunal has processed and finalised a number of cases in its files including amendment of the Caxton/Media Credit Co-Ordinators settlement to include Ramsay Media, approval of the merger of Philafrica Foods and savoury snack manufacturers Zutco and Pakworks and the VKB Agri Processors/VKB Flour Mills.

Savoury snack manufacturer merger with Philafrica Foods approved

The Competition Tribunal has approved the merger of investment company Philafrica Foods and Savoury snack manufacturers Zutco and Pakworks. The merger has been approved without conditions.

Philafrica Foods is an investment company involved in food processing, it owns and operates a number of wheat and maize mills, oil extraction plants and animal feed manufacturing facilities. Philafrica is controlled by AFGRI Holdings an investment holding company with interests in a number of agriculture commodity trading companies.

Zutco and Pakworks are involved in the contract manufacturing of savoury snacks on behalf of Simba.

Acquisition of VKB Flour Mills approved 

VKB Agri Processors is to acquire sole control of VKB Flour Mills, a manufacturer and supplier of flour, bread and other bakery products. The merger has been unconditionally approved.

VKB Agri Processors is a wholly owned subsidiary of VKB Bellegings which is not controlled by any single shareholder.

The group, including VKB Agri Processing, has a diverse range of interests in the agricultural sector, ranging from maize milling to research and development of seed technology.

Ramsay Media included in outdoor price fixing settlement involving Caxton 

The Competition Tribunal has granted a variation order to include Ramsay Media in a consent agreement confirmed with Caxton and CTP Publishers in March 2018 for price fixing and fixing trading conditions in the outdoor advertising market.

In terms of the agreement, Caxton is to pay a R23 million fine as part of a package of remedies contravening the Competition Act. The Commission said it had been understood that Ramsay Media would be included in the settlement and that the subsidiary had been omitted. The Tribunal approved the variation order at a hearing on Wednesday, 13 June 2018.

The matter relates to a November 2011 investigation which found that, through the Media Credit Co-Ordinators (MCC), various media companies agreed to offer similar discounts and payment terms to advertising agencies that place advertisements with MCC members.

MCC accredited agencies were offered a 16,5% discount for payments made within 45 days of the statement date, while non-members were offered 15%.

Caxton has undertaken to pay a penalty of R5,8m (R5 806 890), provide 25% in bonus airtime for every Rand of airtime bought by qualifying small agencies for three years subject to a total annual cap of R15m (R15 000 000) and to contribute R2m (R2 090 480) to Economic Development Fund.

The media companies listed in the complaint are: the SABC; Media 24; Primedia; the Mail & Guardian; Avusa Media; MTV Networks Africa; Media 24 Magazines; Primedia Outdoor; Cinemark; Comutanet; Conde Nast Independent Magazine; The Citizens 1978; Spark Media; Apurimac Media; Provantage Media; Radmark; Carpe Diem Media; Rodale And Touchline;  Mandla-Matla Publishing; Ramsay Media; Lugan Investments; Associated Media;  Associated Hearst; Capro; Trudon; United Stations; Continental Outdoor; Media Credit Coordinators; Independent Newspapers; DSTV Media Sales; Apurimac Media; Caxton and CTP Publishers and Printers and Media Credit Co-Ordinators (MCC).

Robertsons/Silver 2017 merger decision pending 

The Competition Tribunal is to decide a merger in which Robertsons will gain control over Silver 2017 (Newco) subsequent to the transfer of the spreads business from Unilever South Africa into Newco as an internal restructuring exercise.

The Commission has recommended the merger be approved subject to employment conditions and a condition that makes it obligatory for ULSA  to remain liable for the payment of any administrative penalty that may be imposed by the Tribunal post-merger. The ULSA spreads business is a respondent in a pending cartel investigation and this matter is currently before the Tribunal.

The primary acquiring enterprise, Robertsons, is wholly owned and controlled by Hunt Leuchars and Hepburn Holdings (HL&H) which is in turn 100% owned and controlled by Industrial Partnership Investments.

The ULSA spreads business relates to the manufacture, marketing, sales and distribution of margarine products under the Rondo, Stork, Rama, Flora and Marvello brands; Meadowland brand, which is a dairy cream alternatively used in the food services industry for multiple applications (including cooking, poring and whipping sweet or savoury dishes); and Flora cooking oil.

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