Competition in South Africa
Bowmans has continued to cement its market leading position in South Africa and Africa-wide competition matters and has strongly focused on developing key relationships with competition regulators around Africa. It is also at the forefront of merger control, tapping into the firm's outstanding record in cross-border M&A. Derek Lötter co-heads the practice alongside Tamara Dini in Cape Town, and has a formidable record in big-ticket competition matters and is highly rated across the continent; he led the team that represented PepsiCo in its acquisition of Johannesburg-listed Pioneer Food Group, a deal that required notification in multiple jurisdictions, including in South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and to the COMESA Competition Commission. Claire Reidy is a key figure in cartel and abuse of dominance cases, while Heather Irvine is another prominent name in the market.
Derek Lötter; Tamara Dini
Other key lawyers:
Claire Reidy; Heather Irvine; Richard Bryce
‘Outstanding legal advice is to be expected from a top legal firm, but it was the proactive, hands-on engagement of the Bowmans antitrust team throughout a protracted and complex antitrust process, which really stood out. ’
‘The Bowmans team was very responsive to tight timelines and provided good practical advice. They stand out from other firms on both counts.’
‘They have great coverage of South Africa issues, but also of other African countries. They provide very reliable advice and great responsiveness. They are the go-to firm for African filings. ’
‘Derek Lotter has deep experience and a practical perspective.’
‘Tamara Dini is great to work with. She delivers clear advice and is responsive. She is highly recommended. ’
‘Richard Bryce was outstanding. His understanding of the legal issues, management of complex situations and judgement are impressive, but it is his energy, dedication and client care which really set him apart.’
Coca-Cola Beverages Africa
Elanco Animal Health
Isanti Glass 1
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Outotec Ovi and Metso Oyj
The Minister of Trade Industry and Competition
Barrick Gold Corporation
- Advised Pepsico its acquisition of Pioneer Foods.
- Advised Elanco on its acquisition of Bayer’s animal health business.
- Successfully represented Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in proceedings launched by the Trade Competition and Consumers Protection Authority in Ethiopia against its local subsidiaries.
ENSafrica continues to operate at the forefront of advising on merger notifications, cartels and prohibited practice investigations, market inquiries, dawn raids and other compliance. The firm's outstanding client base has brought it a series of headline merger notification engagements in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa, including to the COMESA competition authorities. Team head Jocelyn Katz has built an excellent reputation in the field and is now a prolific adviser on complex competition matters, notably merger notifications. Justin Balkin and Mark Garden are also prominent names, while Lizel Blignaut is the team's principal economist.
Other key lawyers:
Justin Balkin; Mark Garden; Lizel Blignaut; Derushka Chetty; Natalia Lopes; Aziza Mdee; Ryan Goodman
‘This practice is well-versed in competition law, but is not only able to convey academic rhetoric, it is able to apply its knowledge practically to find commercially acceptable solutions. The service delivery and turn around times are excellent.’
‘Responsive, great help to coordination multiple African filings’
‘Lizel Blignaut and Ryan Goodman are very experienced including Lizel’s previous experience at the Competition Commission of South Africa. As the South African antitrust laws are different from many other countries, they did an excellent job to explain to our team what these differences are and how these differences will impact our case.’
‘Lizel Blignaut was very quick in understanding the particular circumstances of our case and could easily match our case with her intimate understanding of how the Commission works and which areas they are most likely to focus on.’
‘Ryan Goodman is very knowledgable and was able to point out all the risks associated with the various strategies that we considered.’
‘Ryan Goodman is very thorough in his analysis of the issue at hand and possible solutions. His advice is practical and commercial. His turnaround times are fantastic. ’
‘Justin Balkin has a shrewd mind and provides keen insights.’
A.P. Moller–Maersk Group
Advent International, Cinven and RAG-Stiftung (the consortium)
Consolidated Infrastructure Group
Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium
Kleoss Fund 1 en commandite Partnership
Nestle Skin Health
OCI and The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company
Saudi Basic Industries Corporation
The Central Bottling Company
The Laser Transport Group
Triton Investment Management
- Represented Milco and its ultimate controlling shareholder, Central Bottling Company Group, in its acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital of Clover Industries, which required notification to, and competition approval from, the competition authorities in Botswana, Namibia, Eswatini and South Africa.
- Advised Edgars Consolidated Stores on the restructuring and consequent disposals within the Edcon Group.
- Represented Mylan in relation to the African aspects of its amalgamation with the Upjohn division of Pfizer.
Webber Wentzel has remained at the forefront of merger notifications, market inquiries and prohibited practice matters, including matters involving agenda-setting decisions of the Competition Appeal Court. In the South African Competition Commission's investigation into price fixing amongst foreign currency traders, it deployed four separate teams to represent four different banks. Daryl Dingley leads the team, which includes senior figures Desmond Rudman, Robert Wilson and Martin Versfeld.
Other key lawyers:
Desmond Rudman; Robert Wilson; Martin Versfeld; Burton Phillips; Clare-Alice Vertue
‘They understand their clients’ business well and are able to advise on the law taking into account our line of business.’
‘A go-to firm for South Africa matters. They are very knowledgeable about South African law and procedure, and have good contact within the local legal community. ’
‘Webber Wentzel provides a personal service. I have been using this firm for the past nine years and it is the personal touch that I appreciate.’
‘Martin Versfeld understands our business and shows a personal interest in our company. His advise takes into consideration the business side of the legal question and not only the legal consequences. He is trustworthy, has integrity and always goes the extra mile.’
‘Martin Versfeld is very easy to work with, extremely responsive, careful not to step into client decisions while offering up many and varied options and solutions to draw from. Pragmatic and cost conscious.’
‘Clare-Alice Vertue is a clever and thoughtful lawyer, able to work through lots of detail and get to the important stuff. Never comments for the sake of it, rather concentrates on adding points of value.’
Murray & Roberts
British Airways / Comair
British American Tobacco
Johannesburg Stock Exchange
Pioneer Foods Group
Bank of America
Coca-Cola Beverages Africa
- Advised JP Morgan, Standard Chartered, Bank of America and Commerzbank in an investigation by the South African Competition Commission against foreign currency traders for alleged price-fixing.
- Advising Murray & Roberts Holdings in respect of ATON GmbH’s hostile takeover of the company, including merger notifications in South Africa, Canada, Zambia and Namibia as well as launching an urgent application in the Competition Tribunal to interdict ATON from voting the shares it had acquired in M&R since indicating its firm intention to acquire control over company.
- Advising MTN in respect of the Data Services Inquiry initiated by the South African Competition Commission as a market inquiry in terms of the Competition Act 89 of 1998.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s impressive pipeline of corporate transactions has ensured that it is at the forefront of merger notifications. Moreover, it has a healthy share of market inquiry engagements. It also advised on the first successful challenge to a warrant for a dawn raid process conducted by the Competition Commission. Health care, financial services and TMT are particularly active sectors for the team. Beyond South Africa, it frequently deals with other key competition regulators, including those in Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and COMESA. The highly rated Chris Charter leads the team.
Other key lawyers:
Andries le Grange; Lara Granville; Susan Meyer; Albert Aukema; Naasha Loopoo
‘Great personal service.’
‘Comprehensive service which addresses the needs of the customer.’
‘Open communication and solution-oriented thinking.’
‘Chris Charter has always gone the extra mile for us and has always been upfront when he is not best placed or lacks experience in an area.’
‘Chris Charter is a professor in his field. He has a deep understanding of the complexities of our business and his advice is premised on this understanding.’
‘Lara Granville is always available and quick to respond to matters. Her advice is always well considered. It is a pleasure to work with Lara.’
‘Andries le Grange is in my view, one of the best competition lawyers. He is always available and provides prompt, quality and practical advice when required. We have worked with Andries over several years and he has become one of our main go to competition lawyers.’
‘Susan Meyer has extensive experience and practical knowledge regarding the processes and has made, what is usually a very time consuming and frustrating process, very easy and hassle free.
‘Susan Meyer has really taken the time to know and understand each of our clients’ businesses and this gives her the unique ability to provide practical and specific advice and insights.’
‘Albert Aukema has a very practical approach to his legal advice. He understands the commercial realities of the business and provides advice which is not only sound but also practical to implement.‘
‘Naasha Loopoo is professional, always available, friendly, reliable, honest, hard-working, practical, she is also always on top of her game and is up to date with current events in the competition space.‘
Matlosana Medical Health Services
Tourvest Travel Services
Pelo Agricultural Ventures
Public Investment Corporation
Tourvest Financial Services
Kagiso Tiso Holdings
Tiso Blackstar Group
Technology Management Services (TCM)
Minister of Economic Development
- Advised Mediclinic in the Commission’s health care market inquiry and Vodacom in the Competition Commission’s market inquiry into the price of data.
- Represented Uniplate in successfully defending allegations of abuse of dominance in the Competition Appeal Court, which overturned the decision of the tribunal.
- Represented Computershare in successfully objecting to an intermediate merger between the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and a transfer secretary business by providing the Commission with compelling reasons to prohibit the conglomerate merger for being anti-competitive.
Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP has an outstanding senior leadership group with Jean Meijer and Nick Altini amongst the foremost competition practitioners in the market. This has helped the growing team to assemble a hugely impressive client base and land a range of major engagements. It works intensively in South Africa-based matters, along with a range of cases and deals elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. It represented several banks in allegations of price fixing and market division in foreign exchange trading sector brought by the Competition Commission.
Other key lawyers:
Nick Altini; Leana Engelbrecht
‘This team includes a number of highly experienced competition lawyers. They are dedicated and very accessible. It is a pleasure to work with this team, because there is a consistency in the quality through the ranks.’
‘Unlike the case with a number of the larger law firms, one never gets the sense that younger professionals are simply there for the training; every member of the team makes a contribution.’
‘It really does seem as if the members of this team have been hand-picked for the combination of passion for clients and attention to detail that they all share.’
‘Jean Meijer is a very strong competition lawyer and leader in this team. She is dedicated to her clients, and her attention to the finest detail never falters.’
‘Jean Meijer is the most exceptional lawyer that I have ever worked with from an in-depth industry, technical knowledge and accessibility perspective.’
‘The team of Nick Altini and Leana Engelbrecht bring a unique ability to offer legal guidance and support in a manner that respects our instructions whilst simultaneously guiding us to the appropriate course of action. It’s this ability to consider our commercial interests and applying practical solutions to legal issues which we appreciate. ’
‘Nick Altini, Leana Engelbrecht and their support staff make a formidable team.’
‘Stewart Payne stands out as a young lawyer who is showing immense growth under Jean’s guidance.’
Associated British Foods and Zambia Sugar
CFAO Holdings South Africa
Premier Soccer League
Procter & Gamble
The South African Express Parcel Association
The South African Sugar Association
The SPAR Group
The Standard Bank of South Africa
Willis Towers Watson
Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc
Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc has maintained a solid competition practice with several prominent partners in the team. It has achieved further accolades for its work in price regulation and investigations, including the Forex inquiry. It represents a wide range of leading South African and multinational businesses, and has a fine record in cross-border antitrust matters across the continent. Marianne Wagener is noted for regulatory matters and investigations, Mark Griffiths for sub-Saharan Africa antitrust issues and Durban's Rosalind Lake has made a further impression in cartel investigations.
Other key lawyers:
Rosalind Lake; Mark Griffiths
Gas Users Group
Industrial Gas User Association South Africa
Unilever South Africa
Brookfield Asset Management
Canadian Solar UK Projects
Phakwe Investment Group
Hollard Insurance Company of Namibia
- Assisted Brookfield Asset Management in obtaining approval from the Competition Commission to dispose of its renewable energy assets.
- Assisted Canadian Solar UK Projects with acquiring sole control over two engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects in South Africa.
- Advised Barrick Gold on obtaining regulatory approval of the take-private of Acacia Mining under Tanzanian and Kenyan competition regimes.
Nortons Inc is a regulatory boutique with an excellent record in competition law. It handles a range of merger notifications, market inquiries, prohibited practices matters and other competition issues in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Anthony Norton is a giant of the market, Paul Russell is noted for market inquiries and John Oxenham for private damages actions.
Other key lawyers:
Paul Russell; John Oxenham
Werksmans Attorneys has a fully-rounded competition practice with extensive experience in mergers, market inquiries, prohibited practices and competition litigation. It has a particularly fine record in alleged abuse of dominance cases before the Competition Commission and Competition Tribunal. TMT is a key sector for the team. Price-gouging investigations and buyer power prohibitions are growth areas, while cartel engagements remain key for the group. The particularly stable team is led by the highly rated Paul Coetser. Rudolph Raath is an emerging talent in competition litigation, including prohibited practices matters.
Other key lawyers:
Ahmore Burger-Smidt; Paul Cleland, Pieter Steyn; Rudolph Raath
‘My experience over the years is that the service and personal attention to one’s needs have been exceptional in both the manner they respond and provide legal advice, but the high level of legal acumen and thoroughness in their legal opinion and professionalism.’
‘The personal attention and responses have been exceptional, with due response to all our needs. We have used three departments in their business, and in each of these divisions, the legal knowledge has been of the same high standard.
‘The service of Paul Coetser and Rudolph Raath has been truly exceptional.’
‘Paul Coetser is a leading SA competition lawyer. ‘He is tremendously knowledgeable.’
Blue Label Telecommunications
Cape Fruit Processors
Credit Suisse Group
Food and Allied Workers Union
Hitachi Automotive Systems
Lurco Mining Services
Mobile Telephone Networks
Naspers Group and its subsidiaries (including Media24)
Volvo Financial Services
- Successfully represented Media24 before the Competition Tribunal, then on successive appeals, first before the Competition Appeal Court and finally before the Constitutional Court in relation to allegations that Media24 had abused its dominance by predating on an independent community newspaper in the Goldfields region.
- Divided by ethics walls, represented Food and Allied Workers Union and the government, in relation to merger involving Simba and Pioneer Foods Group.
- Represented MultiChoice and M-Net in their written representations to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) in relation to ICASA’s draft findings document in the inquiry into subscription broadcasting services.
Baker McKenzie Johannesburg
Baker McKenzie Johannesburg with up-and-coming partner Lerisha Naidu at the helm it has landed a series of impressive engagements, particularly for multinationals and a number of blue-chip South African corporates. This included representing Unilever South Africa in a case concerning allegations of cartel conduct in the edible oil and fats industry.
‘Close communication with the client and friendliness’
‘Prompt analysis and action. Well organised and thoughtful legal advice’
‘Lerisha Naidu and her associate are doing a great job. They are responsive, with high competence and have a pragmatic approach.’
Platinum Equity Advisers
African Rainbow Capital
Emerging Capital Partners
Voestalpine Bohler Welding
ArcelorMittal South Africa
DLA Piper has made a further impression in merger matters in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. It has a particularly fine record in the financial services and telecoms sectors. Janine Simpson is an experienced competition law specialist, especially in merger control. She led the team that advised Barloworld on the competition aspects of its acquisition of the starch business of Tongaat Hulett. Werner Rysbergen has joined as a director from Webber Wentzel.
‘Professional, sincere, committed to the client and insightful.’
‘The entire team were super professional and absolutely committed to reaching the conclusion of my matter as quickly and painlessly as possible.’
SEACOM Shared Services
Community Investment Holdings
Rand Merchant Bank
Fasken has a solid record in investigations, competition litigation and cross-border mergers. Cartels and price-fixing cases are a particular forte with the firm representing a number of multinationals in big-ticket matters. Moreover, the team has acted for key parties in the grocery retail market and LPG market inquiries. Neil MacKenzie co-heads the department with Lesley Morphet, who joined from Hogan Lovells (South Africa) in 2020.
Neil Mackenzie; Lesley Morphet
ArcelorMittal South Africa
South African Petroleum Industry Association
South African Property Owners’ Association
The Dow Chemical Company
Lawtons Africa has a well-established team, covering a full spectrum of competition matters, from merger control to cartels and abuse of dominance cases. The firm is also active in cross-border matters involving other African competition regulators. Nkonzo Hlatshwayo is hugely experienced and a well-known name in Africa competition matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Previous experience in working at the Competition Commission.’
‘Nkonzo Hlatshwayo is an extremely competent partner and advisor.‘
Thebe Investment Corporation
ZTE Corporation RSA
Royal Eswanati National Airways Corporation
MultiChoice Africa and Supersport
Medshield Medical Scheme
Nedbank Group and Nedbank
Into Africa Mining and Exploration
Willkie Farr & Gallagher
- Represented ZTE Corporation RSA in a cartel investigation launched by the Competition Commission.
- Assisted Transnet with a response to an abuse of dominance investigation against three of its operating divisions by the Competition Commission of South Africa.
- Advised Thebe Investment Corporation on a South African merger notification relating to the acquisition of 50% of the issued share capital of SNB by Thebe SPV.