JOHANNESBURG – The Competition Tribunal on Tuesday gave cigarette giant British American Tobacco (BAT) the green light to buy local e-cigarette company Twisp with employment and competition conditions.
The tribunal gave the merger, which initially raised concerns of possible price hikes and a reduction in the quality of innovation of vaping products, because of Twisp’s pole position in the product category, a go-ahead with conditions that include a two-year moratorium on job cuts from the date of its implementation.
“This includes employees on fixed-term contracts of varying lengths who perform specific roles at BAT South Africa and Twisp,” said the tribunal yesterday. It is expected to provide full reasons for the decision to approve the merger in due course.
It said, however, that competition conditions included preventing the merging parties from entering into deals with retail owners that incentivise them not to sell any Reduced-Risk Products (RRP) of competitors.
It prohibited the merging parties from incentivising retailers to allocate to them more than 70 percent of the visible space allocated to RRPs and not to require or incentivise retailers to prohibit competitors from selling, displaying and promoting RRPs.