A pressing question on many COMESA observers’ minds is this: do corporations (and their legal advisers) consciously ignore the CCC‘s jurisdiction and essentially flaunt the supra-national organisation’s merger-notification regime?
As reported by us yesterday, there may be an interesting test case coming up in the Uganda telecommunications sector, which may help clarify whether parties to known merger deals are simply ignoring the notification mandate of COMESA.
Today, we noticed what appears to have been two recent deals in the poultry sector in Zambia (yet another COMESA member state). As the Zambian newspaper The Times reports, there were two transactions** that have been approved by the Zambian Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) Board of Commissioners — seemingly unilaterally and without involvement of COMESA’s CCC.
Again, as with the potential Ugandan test case we discussed, the question now becomes: were the conditions to notifiability at the COMESA level met (likely yes), and if so, did the parties intentionally fail to notify the deal to the CCC … ? To date, only one deal (Philips/Funai) is known to have been notified to the CCC, as AfricanAntitrust.com reported here. We would love to hear from a representative of the CCC itself to get their view on the current state of affairs.
One possible explanation of the apparent lack of COMESA notification is that the transactions pre-dated the January 2013 effective date of the COMESA competition regime, but that seems unlikely at this late stage, given that it’s already May and the CCPC is only now giving its green light to the deals.
** The names of some of the parties are entertaining, no less, as they are Zamchick and Rainbow Chicken. Presumably, the merged entity might adopt Rainbow Zamchick?