Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  19 May 2010

SAB: SAB Welcomes Competition Tribunal Ruling


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The South African Breweries Ltd(SAB) welcomes the Competition Tribunal’s decision to separate out aspects of proceedings relating to the company, following a hearing last week.

The Tribunal ruled in favour of SAB on its application to separate out key aspects of the proceedings. These deal with SAB’s distribution system and its use of appointed distributors; an alleged practice of resale price maintenance; and an allegation of price discrimination – all of which will now be heard in August.

The hearing of the allegations relating to abuse of dominance will be stayed, pending further directions from the Tribunal.

SAB strategy director Harald Harvey said: “We welcome the Competition Tribunal’s decision to separate the case. Our distributors are small and medium-sized businesses and mostly black owned, and for more than six years they have been living with uncertainty as to the legality of their businesses.

The Tribunal’s ruling to separate the proceedings goes a long way towards speeding up the process of clarifying the legality of our distribution system and creating certainty for everyone concerned.”

SAB had argued that it would not be possible to hear the entire complaint referral in August given the complex technical issues it involved. The company asked to separate out those aspects of the proceedings which deal with SAB and especially its use of appointed distributors.

The Commission intended to introduce a new set of allegations raised by brandhouse concerning alleged abuses of dominance by SAB and have these heard together with the distribution case.

The hearing was originally scheduled for May 2010, but was postponed to August due to a delay in the Commission producing evidence and defining their case.

Harvey said SAB fully respects both the aims and objectives of the Commission. The company fully intends to meet the separated case referred by the Competition Commission, to be heard by the Competition Tribunal in August. At the same time, SAB will constructively engage with the Commission relating to the outstanding issues of potential abuse of dominance.

SAB feels strongly that the company has not engaged in any anti-competitive business practices. The company will therefore defend the claims.

The company welcomes increased competition in the industry as it results in greater choice, innovation, higher quality and lower prices for consumers. SAB is now in direct competition with Heineken and Diageo, two of the biggest and most capable powerhouses in the global alcohol industry, which have joined together in SA to create a joint venture called brandhouse.

SAB has committed to becoming a model competitor in 21st Century South Africa and has adopted a number of key principles to ensure it competes in a progressive, principled, capable and passionate manner.

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