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Economy

Jobs top issue in ARM sale, says competition agency

National Cement
National Cement factory in Athi River. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The competition watchdog could order the eventual buyer of troubled ARM Cement Kenya #ticker:ARM operations to retain its employees as a pre-condition for the takeover approval, Business Daily has learned.

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) said on Friday it was examining an application by National Cement owned by billionaire Narendra Raval to take over the Kenyan operations of ARM Cement.

The sale of the Kenyan operations of ARM Cement to rival firm National Cement is embroiled in a court dispute.

The former chief executive of troubled ARM Cement Pradeep Paunrana is seeking to stop the sale.

The court is expected to give further directions on the matter.

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The competition watchdog said on Friday it will decide whether National Cement can buy its troubled rival.

“The authority is currently analysing the merger application based on the criteria of impact of the proposed transaction on competition and public interest concerns,” the CAK, headed by Wang’ombe Kariuki, said in response to our queries.

“Regarding impact on competition, the authority is taking into consideration the input market and production capacity in the cement sector.”

The watchdog said it would prioritise the interests of the workers. “The authority shall also consider preservation of jobs post-merger as one of the public interest considerations,” it said.

“It shall provide a determination on the matter within the timelines stipulated in the Competition Act No. 12 of 2010.”

Lawyers say following the suspension of the sale, the fate of ARM Cement workers whom they say would be absorbed by National Cement in the event of a successfully sale process now hangs in the balance.

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