Unilever SA seeks to sell the spread business facing cartel investigation

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Unilever South Africa seeks to sell its spreads business, Silver 2017, to Robertsons and has been given a conditional approval by the Competition Commission.

The spreads business being sold is subject to a pending cartel investigation by the Competition Commission and Unilever has not escaped liability should the business incur a penalty in the investigation.

In a statement released yesterday the Competition Tribunal said it is to decide a merger in which Robertsons will gain control over Silver 2017 (Newco) subsequent to the transfer of the spreads business from Unilever South Africa into Newco as an internal restructuring exercise.

The Commission has recommended the merger be approved subject to employment conditions and a condition that makes it obligatory for ULSA  to remain liable for the payment of any administrative penalty that may be imposed by the Tribunal post-merger. The ULSA spreads business is a respondent in a pending cartel investigation and this matter is currently before the Tribunal.

The primary acquiring enterprise, Robertsons, is wholly owned and controlled by Hunt Leuchars and Hepburn Holdings (HL&H) which is in turn 100% owned and controlled by Industrial Partnership Investments.

The ULSA spreads business relates to the manufacture, marketing, sales and distribution of margarine products under the Rondo, Stork, Rama, Flora and Marvello brands; Meadowland brand, which is a dairy cream alternatively used in the food services industry for multiple applications (including cooking, poring and whipping sweet or savoury dishes); and Flora cooking oil.

info@probonomatters.co.za

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