Bloomberg News

S. Africa Wal-Mart Action ‘Strained Credibility,’ Lamberti Says

July 06, 2011

July 6 (Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s use of antitrust processes in Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s purchase of a stake in Massmart Holdings Ltd. “strained” its credibility as an investment destination, Massmart Chairman Mark Lamberti said.

South Africa’s trade, economic development and agriculture ministries made a joint bid to the Competition Tribunal to force the world’s largest retailer to restrict imports if it buys a controlling stake in Johannesburg-based Massmart, concerned about job losses. The country’s Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union also “chose to engage on issues that had nothing to do with the transaction or the interests of Massmart workers,” Lamberti wrote in an opinion piece in Business Day newspaper today.

“Regrettably, these interventions strained South Africa’s credibility as a destination for foreign direct investment,” he wrote. “In the end, wisdom and independence of the Competition Tribunal prevailed and the dissenting parties achieved nothing more than was offered to them by Grant Pattison,” Massmart’s chief executive officer, Lamberti wrote.

The competition authority on June 1 allowing Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart to proceed with its 16.5 billion-rand ($2.45 billion) purchase on condition no jobs are cut for two years.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ana Monteiro at amonteiro4@bloomberg.net


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