Department of Trade and Industry opposes the hostile takeover bid by Kansai Paint Company Ltd of Freeworld Coatings Pty LTD, at the Competition Commission
31 Mar 2011
The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) has made a submission to the Competition Commission in the matter of the proposed takeover of a South African company, Freeworld Coatings by a Japanese multi national, Kansai Paint Company. The dti has argued that the takeover be prohibited. Alternatively and failing which, the dti has submitted that the Commission should impose conditions which ensure that public interest and competition concerns set out in the dti submission are met.
These concerns include the argument that the hostile takeover is likely to weaken competition in a market which is already highly concentrated and prone to collusive behaviour in other jurisdictions. Secondly, It has argued that the takeover constitutes a direct threat to the governmentsupported localisation drive since Freeworld is the only local manufacturer of automotive coatings supplied to the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the sector.
Other suppliers import products procured by the OEMs. Job losses would be an inevitable consequence of a curtailment or cessation of local manufacture. The dti further argues that Freeworld has made a very significant contribution to uniquely South African product development and commercialisation in a partnership with Stellenbosch University, a contribution previously recognised by the dti when the company received a dti award for innovation. Freeworld, it is argued, is also an exemplar with respect to black economic empowerment.
“The dti has taken this step because it is of the view that increased competition, local manufacture and local product development, particularly in the strategic automotives sector, which is characterised by high economic and employment multipliers, is critically important,” said the dti’s Acting Director-General Mr Lionel October.
“It is important to stress that the dti is motivated by these considerations and this intervention should not be construed as opposition by the dti to foreign direct investment. On the contrary, the dti is doing everything possible to encourage inward investment, especially in relation to the production sectors of the economy where higher levels of competition, local production and innovation are vital ingredients in government’s drive to address the structural weaknesses of the economy and to work closely with the private sector to reverse the decline of South Africa’s industrial base, global competitiveness, exports and employment,” added October.
He also said that should the Commission decide against prohibition the dti was of the view that the Competition Commission should place a set of conditions on the acquisition in line with competition and public interest concerns, which secure the protection of South Africa’s industrial capacity, employment and intellectual property.
Tel: 012 394 1712
Cell: 082 311 8931
Source: Department of Trade and Industry
Issued by: Department of Trade and Industry
31 Mar 2011
[ Top ]