JOHANNESBURG - The competition Tribunal has approved without conditions the merger of Stellenbosch-based Capitec Bank and Portuguese-owned Mercantile Bank Holdings, which will pave the way for the former to enter the business banking market.
Capitec seeks to acquire Mercantile Bank, which provides business and commercial banking services along with a private banking offering through a range of specialised secure and user-friendly products and services such as electronic banking, borrowing solutions, investment and insurance solutions. Mercantile Bank, a registered bank-controlling and investment-holding company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Caixa Geral de Depositos (CGD). CGD, a Portuguese Bank owned by the Portuguese Republic, has had to be put on the market as a result of the economic difficulties experienced in Europe following the 2008 global credit crisis.
Capitec was selected by the Portuguese government as the successful bidder after 60 expressions of interest from foreign and local bidders were initially received. In its assessment, the tribunal said it was of the view there were no competition or public interest concerns.