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Competition Tribunal defers NAP’s appeal

PAULINE DIKUELO
Coming up: Delta Palms Hills will be located in central Maun. The CCA says the mall’s cross-ownership is another reason to reject NAP’s application PIC: DELTAPALMS.COM
The Competition and Consumer Tribunal has deferred until the end of April, the clash between the Competition Authority (CCA) and New African Properties (NAP) over the latter’s P20 million deal in Maun.

BusinessWeek has learnt that the appeal hearing scheduled for this week was deferred to give the CCA an opportunity to test the accuracy of new evidence submitted by NAP.

The Botswana Stock Exchange-listed property group was appealing a recent CCA’s decision, which stopped the purchase of a retail centre in Maun. The competition watchdog blocked NAP from finalising the P20 million deal saying the transaction raised ‘competition issues’ as NAP already has a robust retail presence in Maun.

CCA’s director of communications and stakeholder relations, Gideon Nkala told BusinessWeek the Tribunal made an offer that the case should not proceed into the merits.

“CCA argued that NAP had brought fresh evidence, which was new and should therefore be inadmissible. The CCA submitted that the evidence should as a consequence be struck out and not be made part of the hearing,” he said.

In the original application, CCA had ruled that the proposed transaction was

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likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition due to the removal of a competitor in the form of the target enterprise. The CCA said its assessment of the proposed deal had shown that competition concerns would arise in the rental retail space in Maun should NAP be allowed to conclude its transaction.

Also, the assessment done by CCA found cross-shareholding between an upcoming retail centre in Maun called Delta Palms Mall and NAP. The cross-shareholding is through a common shareholder, Cash Bazaar Holdings, which holds 19.9% equity in NAP.

NAP has 57 retail and industrial properties in Botswana last valued at about P1.4 billion and spread out from Gaborone to Kasane, Maun and Gantsi, Jwaneng and other parts of the country. The property investment group’s assets include well-known properties such as Riverwalk Mall and Kagiso Centre in Gaborone, Mafenyatlala Mall in Molepolole and Mokoro Centre in Maun.



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