By Andy Young

South Africa's Competition Commission, one of the regulatory authorities investigating the proposed merger of brewers SABMiller and AB InBev, has requested a third extension to continue its review of the transaction.

The commission has already conducted a 40-day investigation, which has had subsequent 15 day and 10 day extensions.

Competition Commission spokesperson Itumeleng Lesofe told CNBC Africa that there were a number of concerns about the transaction, which were causing the extensions.

Lesofe said: "The Competition Commission considers this to be a very important measure and as such we are prioritising the measure and we are doing our best to complete it as soon as possible and without any delays.

"Initially we thought we would be able to complete the investigation by tomorrow [when the current extension expires] and make recommendations to the tribunal. However during the course of the investigation we have uncovered information and there are concerns.

"So the merger contains concerns and we have brought those concerns to the attention of the merging parties and we hope those concerns will be addressed.

"So that's where we are in terms of the process and that is the reason why we need an extension, to consider the concerns that have been identified and to see if there can be a conclusion to those concerns."

For the deal to be approved AB InBev needs to gain regulatory approval in several markets, including South Africa, where SABMiller has a significant presence.

Lesofe told CNBC Africa that the commission is consulting with many stakeholders both inside and outside of South Africa's brewing industry and other international competition commissions.

He added: "This is an international transaction and it has been notified in a number of jurisdictions including the United States, Singapore, China and a number of other jurisdictions so as part of our analysis of the transaction we are engaging with the other authorities."

In a bid to win regulatory approval AB InBev and SABMiller have already agreed to a number of asset and brand sales that will go through if the deal is approved.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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