Competition in South Africa
Bowmans is regarded as the leader in Africa-wide competition matters, especially in merger notifications. The firm is also at the forefront of behavioural matters in South Africa, acting for parties in most of the industry inquiries. It defended Continental Tyre South Africa in an inquiry into alleged price-fixing activity involving tyre manufacturers in South Africa. Clients praise its experience of working with competition authorities across Africa. Derek Lötter and chairman and senior partner Robert Legh are 'outstanding'. Tamara Dini and Rudolph Labuschagne are also key partners.
ENSafrica fields a substantial team across its Johannesburg and Cape Town offices. It continues to impress in mergers and inquiries, and the team advised Sibanye-Stillwater on the merger filing aspects of its acquisition of Lonmin. It also represented several parties in the Competition Commission's investigation into the South African private healthcare sector. The team is 'client centric', 'commercially astute' and has 'strong technical competence'. Mark Garden, Justin Balkin and Jocelyn Katz are among its most recognised practitioners, along with Derushka Chetty, Natalia Lopes and economist Lizel Blignaut. Senior associate Aziza Mdee is also noted.
Webber Wentzel has gained even greater market share, most notably in market investigations and inquiries, thanks in part to its ability to field a number of senior practitioners at any one time. It represented Air Namibia in investigations by the South African and Namibian Competition Commissions into alleged predatory pricing by Air Namibia on the Cape Town to Windhoek route. Desmond Rudman, Robert Wilson and Daryl Dingley are all senior names, while Martin Versfeld is 'always available and responds very quickly' and younger name Shawn van der Meulen is 'great to work with, very professional and accessible'.
Baker McKenzie Johannesburg is praised for its understanding of clients' operations and its 'international benchmarks' and it fields an 'exceptional' team that is 'easy to work with and good at collaborating on complicated international issues'. The team is also commended for its collaborative work alongside other departments and colleagues. The team represented HSBC in the collusion referral to the Competition Tribunal regarding alleged forex price fixing. Lerisha Naidu has been promoted to partner. Nick Altini and Leana Engelbrecht joined Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP in July 2019.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr mixes a solid background in mergers with a growing presence in enforcement matters. It defended Uniplate in alleged abuse of dominance proceedings brought by the Competition Commission and represented Vodacom in the Commission's market inquiry into the price of data. The team 'has very strong technical knowledge coupled with strong commercial insight', and stands out for its 'excellent professional service delivery and proactive risk management and advice'. Chris Charter is 'smart and thoughtful' and Andries le Grange is 'invaluable in merger applications' thanks to his 'sound industry knowledge'. Lara Granville is an emerging talent.
Norton Rose Fulbright has maintained an impressive market share of engagements in cartel and price-fixing cases, market inquiries and other enforcement matters. The team is noted for its industry knowledge and experience in regulatory investigations. Marianne Wagener leads the team, which includes Mark Griffiths and Rosalind Lake.
Nortons Inc has maintained a considerable presence in mergers, investigations and market inquiries, and damages actions. Anthony Norton is a recognised market leader with wide experience across the competition arena, while John Oxenham is noted for class actions and Paul Russell for regulatory investigations.
Werksmans Attorneys continues to impress in mergers, competition litigation, market inquiries and cartel cases. It has an especially strong record in TMT and represented Media24 in a landmark abuse of dominance case, with the Competition Appeal Court ruling in the client's favour in March 2018. The 'client-centric' team is praised for its 'responsiveness, professional capabilities and adaptability'. The highly-reputed Paul Coetser heads the team, which includes Ahmore Burger-Smidt, Paul Cleland, Pieter Steyn and Rudolph Raath.
Falcon and Hume Inc
FASKEN has an impressive standing in cartels, market inquiries and merger control. It is 'easy to work with, very strong analytically and very well connected to the regulator'. Head of department Neil MacKenzie is 'exceptionally responsive and client friendly' and senior figure Stephen Langbridge is 'very experienced and very practical', 'doesn't get bogged down in the detail' and 'gets things done'. The team represented the South African Petroleum Industry Association in Competition Tribunal proceedings concerning allegations of price fixing and market allocation in the commercial diesel market.
Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP is carving out an even greater market share of cartels and investigations in South Africa and across the continent. It advised Mercedes-Benz South Africa on the Competition Commission’s proposed voluntary code of conduct for the automotive aftermarket industry. It is also active in relation to forex, media and retail grocery sector inquiries and investigations. Jean Meijer is 'outstanding'. Nick Altini and director Leana Engelbrecht were new arrivals from Baker McKenzie Johannesburg in July 2019.
Hogan Lovells (South Africa) has an impressive mix of antitrust work with an ever-growing practice outside of South Africa. The 'exceptional' team is praised for its efforts to understand clients' businesses and their industry sectors. Nkonzo Hlatshwayo is 'a calming influence, always available, and an expert in his field'. A team led by Lesley Morphet advised Bayer on a number of competition issues relating to its headline acquisition of Monsanto, including merger notifications in multiple African jurisdictions. The team has also worked on a number of cartel cases.