Digital banks: game-changers in South Africa’s banking industry?

Digital banks: game-changers in South Africa’s banking industry?

In 2017, the South African Reserve Bank issued three new banking licences to Discovery, Bank Zero and TymeDigital. These are the first licences issued to new banks in more than a decade since the issuing of a bank licence to Finbond Mutual bank in 2001. In the State of the Nation address in 2018, the South African president hailed this as an opportunity to ensure competitive rivalry in a highly concentrated sector. However, the potential for entrants to bring disruptive competition with substantial benefits to consumers needs to be assessed in the context of challenges in the banking industry in South Africa.

Merger Control Provisions: The case of Creeping Acquisitions

Merger Control Provisions: The case of Creeping Acquisitions

Part of the focus of the proposed amendments to the Competition Act is on preventing creeping concentration. Creeping concentration results from a series of mergers and acquisitions that individually do not raise market power substantially, but do so collectively. Firms can increase market share through mergers and acquisitions, and consequently increase market power and concentration in markets.

Conglomerate and vertical effects of acquisition-led growth: The case of retail giant, Steinhoff

Conglomerate and vertical effects of acquisition-led growth: The case of retail giant, Steinhoff

The recent collapse of Steinhoff International Holdings (“Steinhoff”), a global retail giant, raises concerns around the interest and strategies of large corporates. Steinhoff has sparked controversy over “accounting irregularities”, which cost the retail giant R282 billion in stock market value.

Developments in Mobile Money in East Africa

Developments in Mobile Money in East Africa

The provision of mobile money services has been a dynamic and fast-growing sector in Africa. Beyond money transfer, the industry in different countries has evolved to provide additional services such as bill and merchant payments as well as financial services such as credit, insurance and savings. In East Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya have at least one mobile money provider offering a savings and credit facility.

EXCESSIVE PRICING IN THE GLOBAL PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY

EXCESSIVE PRICING IN THE GLOBAL PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY

In the developing world, disease and poverty are interdependent making access to essential medicines at affordable prices even more critical. 80% of the two billion people worldwide without access to essential medicines live in low income countries. As such, competitive rivalry in the pharmaceutical industry can improve access to medicines by reducing prices and through motivating brand companies to challenge existing patent drugs and create new and improved medicines. Furthermore, upon expiration of patent drugs, competition encourages generic companies to provide less expensive alternatives of medicines.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCESS CONDITIONS IN VERTICAL MERGERS: VEHICLE ASSEMBLY IN KENYA

THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCESS CONDITIONS IN VERTICAL MERGERS: VEHICLE ASSEMBLY IN KENYA

On 29 August 2017, the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) approved with conditions the proposed acquisition of Associated Vehicle Assemblers Limited (AVA) by Simba Corporation Limited (Simba Corp). The approved merger sees the acquisition of an additional 50% of the shares in AVA which were previously controlled by Marshalls East Africa Limited (Marshalls).

HEINEKEN DEVELOPING A TASTE FOR LOCAL CRAFT BREWERS

HEINEKEN DEVELOPING A TASTE FOR LOCAL CRAFT BREWERS

One of the world’s largest brewing houses, Heineken, has taken a step towards a larger share of the South African beer market with the acquisition of the local black owned craft brewer, Soweto Gold, in October 2017. This development comes just months after Heineken bought out the Stellenbosch-based brewery, Stellenbrau. The mergers mean that the brands can now be marketed to a global customer base. While this may be good for the respective owners of the acquired firms, the transactions reflect the challenges faced by Soweto Gold and other small brewers in accessing routes to market on their own.

CARTELS INVESTIGATED IN SOUTH AFRICA: POSSIBLE IMPACT IN THE REGION?

CARTELS INVESTIGATED IN SOUTH AFRICA: POSSIBLE IMPACT IN THE REGION?

Most countries in Southern Africa are net importers of products from South Africa and are therefore likely to be subject to South African cartels. Imports from South Africa cut across sectors including food, capital equipment, construction materials, energy, plastics and chemical products. Moreover regional markets are closely linked through the presence of South African companies in the rest of the region. This article expands on an earlier article in this Review on the possible impacts of some of the South African cartels on the region, as part of CCRED’s monitoring of competition case developments and the evolution of enforcement in the region.