Johannesburg – The Competition Commission has recommended a merger clearance of the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) and Takatso Aviation SAA transaction with the proviso that no retrenchment of workers can take place for five years.
While the transaction will see Takatso acquire a controlling stake in SAA, the Commission’s recommendation for approval is subject to minority shareholders divesting from the company.
Takatso on Friday said it has received the Competition Commission’s recommendation regarding the SAA Strategic Equity Partnership transaction.
“This marks a critical milestone in progressing towards finalising the SAA transaction, which will pave the way for Takatso Aviation to acquire a controlling stake in SAA,” Takatso Aviation said.
“The recommendation is the culmination of an extensive engagement process between Takatso Aviation and the Commission to ensure that the merger clearance would be recommended.”
Takatso Aviation said it notes the Commission’s proposed condition for the transaction to be approved subject to its minority shareholders (Global Aviation and Syranix) relinquishing their shareholding in Takatso Aviation.
“The minority shareholders were made aware that this condition was under consideration by the Commission,” Takatso Aviation said.
Takatso Aviation said it has cooperated fully with the Competition Commission and provided all the relevant information to date including proposing mitigation strategies to alleviate confidentiality concerns raised.
Takatso Aviation said: “Despite that similar mitigation strategies have been accepted by the Competition Commission in relation to other transactions concluded previously, the Commission did not accept the proposals made”.
Takatso Aviation said it accepts the proposed condition to maintain a minimum number of employees at SAA, for five years post merger-clearance.
“Our aim throughout this process has been to ensure that the final regulatory conditions around SAA’s staffing align with, and support our business plan,” said Takatso Aviation Spokesperson Thulasizwe Simelane.
“We firmly believe our plan will ensure a commercially-viable, competitive, and sustainable business that also meets the socio-economic needs of South Africa.
“Takatso has never harboured an unyielding desire to effect retrenchments as the first order of business.
“We will seek to ensure that the airline is optimally staffed, especially at the key management, technical and flight-operations levels, in order to ensure its agility in a highly competitive environment.”
Simelane said Takatso Aviation was looking forward to finalising the merger clearance through the next stage of the process at the Competition Tribunal, as well as to ensure a fair and competitive South African airline industry.