South Africa's Competition Tribunal gives Tongaat Hulett Starch sale the go-ahead

The Competition Tribunal has approved the acquisition of Tongaat Hulett Starch by the KLL Group.

South Africa’s Competition Tribunal has approved the acquisition of Tongaat Hulett Starch by the KLL Group.

The sugar producer said it was pleased with the decision, which has been the third approval in the jurisdictions relevant to the transaction, with the Botswana Competition Commission and the Common Market for Eastern and South Africa Competition Commission having already approved the transaction without conditions. The final approval from the Indonesian Competition Commission is expected to take place in the first week of August. 

Tongaat Hulett CEO Gavin Hudson said the approval by the tribunal had been achieved within anticipated timelines, despite the impact on the process of the Covid-19 pandemic. “This is good news and means we can focus on closing the final conditions relating to the deal,” he said. “These involve obtaining the consent of our lenders, and the resolution of the MAC (material adverse change) event that Barloworld has called.”

In May, Barloworld indicated it believed a material adverse change had occurred in relation to the sale of the starch business, but Tongaat said it remained “firmly of the view that a MAC has not occurred”. The matter has been referred to an independent third party for determination. 

Read more: Tongaat Hulett believes Barloworld’s KLL Group is making a premature call on MAC notice

Gavin said the company was still committed to finalising the disposal of the business, one of a range of initiatives Tongaat has initiated as part of its broader business turnaround process.
“The successful execution of any of these transactions, or a combination of them, will ensure we can deliver on our strategic business partnerships; step-changing our transformation initiatives, protecting employee jobs and helping support the economies of the countries in which we operate,” he said.