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SAB welcomes complete dismissal of Competition Case

7 April 2011

Pretoria, April 07, 2011 - The South African Breweries Limited has welcomed the decision by the Competition Tribunal to set aside the case brought against it by the Competition Commission.

SAB strategy director Harald Harvey is pleased with the decision: "The Tribunal decision is an important confirmation of the principles set out by higher courts about fair process when the Competition Commission exercises its powers."
 
"Whilst we have always believed that SAB would prevail on the merits and would have welcomed the opportunity for our case to be heard, it was important that the principles of fairness be confirmed in this matter," said Harvey.

Harvey added that the ruling creates an opportunity for SAB and the Commission to engage on a different basis around any concerns the Commission may still have. "SAB continues to fully support the aims and objectives of the Competition Act, and holds both the Tribunal and the Commission in very high regard."

On the 24th March, SAB filed the application for dismissal in order to get clarification from the Competition Tribunal on whether it had the jurisdiction to adjudicate on this case, given that the original complaint laid by the Big Daddy's group in November 2004 was not the same one that was before it. The application followed precedent-setting judgments by the Competition Appeal Court in recent months which have clarified the law. The judgments by the Competition Appeal Court on Netstar and Omnia, amongst others, found that a company needed to be tried based on the issues raised in the original complaint.

The Competition Tribunal said that while today's outcome was regrettable, it was bound by recent decisions of superior courts to come to this conclusion.

Background
- The case has been in the public domain for several years, having been referred to the Competition Tribunal in 2007 by the Competition Commission after a three year investigation between 2004 and 2007.

- The original complaint lodged by Big Daddy's head Nico Pitsiladis with the Competition Commission alleged that SAB charged the Big Daddy's group as a wholesaler the same price as the company charged to retailers, thereby preventing Big Daddy's from earning a fair margin on its sales to retail.

- The case at the Competition Tribunal related to SAB's distribution system; an alleged practice of resale price maintenance; an allegation of price discrimination and broad, diffuse allegations relating to abuse of dominance.

This is an SABMiller subsidiary news release, it was first published in its local market on 07/04/2011.

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