Bloomberg News

Massmart Plans to Support Supply Hubs in African Countries

October 06, 2011

(Updates with countries of operation in fourth paragraph.)

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Massmart Holdings Ltd., the South African retailer controlled by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., plans to build supply bases in the African nations where it operates, even as South Africa objects to Wal-Mart’s acquisition of the company.

Three South African government ministers this week asked the country’s Competition Tribunal to reconsider Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart’s purchase of Massmart, citing fears that local jobs may be lost.

“We have a strong belief and confidence in the potential of the local supplier base,” Massmart Chief Executive Officer Grant Pattison told reporters in Johannesburg today. “We don’t disagree with the ministers that the issue of local suppliers is important, but we disagree that we are the one that is going to cause” a decline in the local supply base.

Massmart, South Africa’s biggest food and general goods wholesaler, operates in 13 countries, including Botswana, Nigeria, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia.

The Johannesburg-based company will “shortly” ask for a meeting with South Africa’s competition commission “to align expectations before meeting with the commission in July,” Pattison said.

The “review and appeal” requested by Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson will be heard by the Competition Appeal Court on Oct. 20 and 21.

--Editors: Robert Valpuesta, Paul Jarvis.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janice Kew in Johannesburg at jkew4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net


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