The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has upheld a decision by the Competition and Fair Trading Commission which required Airtel Malawi Ltd to apply to the Commission for authorisation of the acquisition between Barti Airtel Ltd and Zain Malawi.
In January 2013, the Board of the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) ordered Airtel Malawi Ltd to notify the merger to the Commission for authorisation in line with the Competition and Fair Trading Act (CFTA). However, Airtel Malawi Ltd refused to comply with the order and applied for judicial review, claiming that the acquisition was beyond the jurisdiction and regulatory purview of the CFTC.
Following the decision of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, Airtel Malawi Ltd is expected to comply with the 2013 order of the Commission within 14 days.
Meanwhile, CFTC Executive Director Charlotte Wezi Malonda says the landmark decision by the Supreme Court will go a long way in providing clarity in the interpretation of certain merger control provisions in the CFTA.
"Although the appeal case has agonisingly dragged on for the past five years, we are excited that the Commission will now be able to exercise its full regulatory mandate on mergers and acquisitions".
Notes for Editors
According to Section 2 of the CFTA, a merger is the acquisition of controlling interest in any trade involved in the production or distribution of any goods or services. A merger may also be defined as the acquisition of controlling interest in any trade whose business consists wholly or substantially in supplying goods or services to the person who acquires the controlling interest.
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