South Africa: The Competition Commission (CC) has approved the merger of Holcim and Lafarge in South Africa. Although Lafarge has a significant presence in South Africa, Holcim's only interest is in a stake it holds in Afrisam.
"The commission found that Holcim's shareholding interest in Afrisam, a cement producer in South Africa, would present anti-competitive effects post-merger," said the CC. "This is due to the fact that the shareholding creates an undesirable structural link between Holcim and Afrisam in that it provides Holcim with access to Afrisam's commercially-sensitive information."
The commission found that the shareholding by Holcim in competitors would create a platform for collusion in the cement industry post-merger. The CC said that this was compounded by the history of collusion in the South African cement industry and the high concentration levels and barriers to entry in the cement industry.
"To address the competition concerns, the commission has approved the merger on the condition that Holcim divests of the shareholding in Afrisam within a period of three years after approval of the merger," said the CC.