Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) says it has reviewed and assessed 26 applications for mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and takeovers since its inception in 2013 while busting five cartels.
In the 2014/15 financial year alone, CFTC handled six mergers, according to its chief executive officer Charlotte Wezi Malonda.
One of the transactions approved in February this year is the merger between FDH Financial Holdings Limited and Malawi Savings Bank (MSB).
Responding to an e-mailed questionnaire last week on how Malawi is performing in competition and fair trade, Malonda commended all the parties concerned for complying with the conditions imposed by CFTC to mitigate competition flaws.
She said all mergers notified to the commission have been authorised in keeping with the anti-trust law practice all over the world, adding that some of the mergers were approved unconditionally while others with conditions.
Said Malonda: “The commission has handled several mergers in almost all sectors of the economy. All the mergers notified to the commission are important to the Malawian economy. None is more significant or less significant than the other.”
She said when authorising a merger or acquisition, they conduct an assessment on the impact of the transaction on competition and, where it establishes that the merger will lead to substantial lessening of competition, CFTC may impose conditions on the merging parties, or may reject the merger completely where there are no remedies.
Malonda said to promote consumer rights and fair trade, CFTC has busted five cartels in public transport, financial services, education, aviation and maize mills sectors.
“We have also intervened in anti-competitive practices in the sugar distribution system in northern Malawi,” said Malonda, adding that they will increase advocacy and awareness campaigns to ensure there is compliance with the law.
She said CFTC has a cooperation agreement with the Common Market For Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Competition Commission (CCC) in the enforcement of mergers, which have a cross-border effect within Comesa member States.
CCC director George Lipimile, in an interview, said they have been receiving increased tip-offs from member States regarding unnotified mergers and other competition law violations.
He said some member States that do not have competition legislation have taken great strides to ensure that competition legislation is passed, citing Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Lipimile said CCC has witnessed national competition authorities such as CFTC taking up high profile cases like cartels with great competence.
“There is also vigilance by member States as regards competition law violations,” he said.