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Phikwe Poised

Competition Authority approves partial BCL acquisition

The Competition and Consumer Authority (CCA) this week unconditionally approved the acquisition of certain assets belonging to BCL Limited by Premium Nickel Resources Botswana (PNRB).

The BCL takeover was announced late last year by the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Lefoko Moagi, together with PNRB Chief Executive Officer, Montwedi Mphathi and the liquidator, Trevor Glaum.

In December, CCA received the transaction notification and subsequently concluded its assessment on 13 January.

PNRB does not directly or indirectly control any enterprise in Botswana and is a special purpose vehicle that was incorporated specifically to acquire the Selebi Assets (including two shafts and infrastructure).

In approving the transaction, CCA Chief Executive Officer, Tebelelo Pule said the Authority deemed the two parties to be in distinctive markets.

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“The acquiring enterprise has no operations in, into, or from Botswana. The relevant market to analyse therefore is that of the Target Enterprise, BCL,” she explained.

With regards to the assessment of Substantial Lessening of Competition, Pule said the transaction is not expected to substantially lessen competition due to the absence of product overlaps in the two parties’ activities.

With regards to Public Interest Considerations, Pule noted the assessment findings revealed the proposed deal will not have an adverse effect on levels of employment in Botswana.

“Following the liquidation of BCL, at least 5, 000 workers of BCL were retrenched, with 480 staff remaining for purpose of providing security and care and maintenance activities,” she said.

Accordingly, Pule noted the transaction will result in a gradual increase in employment and help resuscitate the town of Selebi-Phikwe.

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During a media briefing last year, Mphathi, who is also former BCL Managing Director, told the media that their wish is to build a world-class mine.

“The other aspiration is to build the best mine possible which can withstand low commodity prices and would not be closed once commodity prices collapse,” he stated boldly.

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