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Shoprite to appeal Sh142m South Africa competition penalty

Shoprite outlet in Kano
Shoppers at the main entrance of the new South African retail giant Shoprite outlet in Kano, Ngeria. AFP PHOTO  

South Africa’s retailer Shoprite said Monday it would appeal against a Sh142 million ($1.4 million) fine handed to its ticket-selling subsidiary by the country’s Competition Tribunal, which found some agreements the firm signed amounted to anti-competitive behaviour.

The judgment was announced ahead of a similar case that is currently before the tribunal, which relates to a later period and is more serious because the company is included as a respondent.

It carries a recommended fine of 10 per cent of the turnover of Shoprite’s retail unit.

The initial case, covering 1999-2012, was referred to the tribunal in 2010 after five rivals of ticket seller Computicket, which Shoprite owns since 2005, complained the business abused its dominance by signing exclusive agreements with clients.

“There is sufficient...evidence to suggest that the exclusive agreements had resulted in anti-competitive effects,” the tribunal’s judgment said.

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“Computicket will appeal the Competition Tribunal’s finding,” Shoprite, South Africa’s biggest retailer, said in response.

In December, Shoprite was named as a respondent to another case brought to the tribunal by South Africa’s Competition Commission, which recommended fining both Computicket and Shoprite’s retail division as much as 10 per cent of their annual turnover.

Shoprite does not disclose the turnover of its retail unit but the division makes up the bulk of the group’s revenue, which stood at 145.3 billion rand in 2018.

It is up to the tribunal to decide whether the commission’s charges and proposed fine stand.

The South African retailer took over space which was vacated by Nakumatt Supermarkets at Westgate Mall in Nairobi, becoming the anchor tenant at the shopping complex.

Shoprite announced last year that it had also secured the troubled retailer’s spaces at Garden City Mall and Mombasa's City Mall.

The retailer, which also operates in Tanzania and Uganda, is also set to take up space at a new mall under construction off Uhuru Highway in Nairobi.

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