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Walmart welcomes tribunal decision

May 31 2011 15:08 Fin24

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Johannesburg - The Competition Tribunal has approved the merger between Walmart and Massmart Holdings [JSE:MSM], saying the retail giant would not be allowed to lay off workers for the next two years.

The tribunal had accepted an offer made by Walmart/Massmart which included the establishment of a R100m supplier development fund, no merger-related retrenchments for two years and continued recognition of the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union for three years post the merger. 

It also stipulated that the retailers give preference to re-employing 503 workers that were retrenched in 2010 prior to the proposed merger.

"We're pleased that the competition authorities have recognised the benefits that our investment in Massmart can deliver," said Walmart International CEO Doug McMillon.

"We look forward to creating new jobs in South Africa, support for the development of South African exports, and providing previously underserved customers and communities with better prices and increased access to the products they want and need. All of this is consistent with the benefits we've delivered to markets around the world," he said.

Walmart said in a statement that it intends to provide Massmart with increased financial stability and support to continue strengthening its presence in Africa.

"The combined Walmart/Massmart entity is planning significant new store openings, which will create thousands of new union jobs in South Africa, while in excess of a 50% growth is being anticipated in the Massmart food business over a five-year period," it said.

It said that in terms of fresh food growth, Walmart and Massmart have committed to ensure that the majority of those products will be sourced from South Africa. A substantial programme is being planned for the training and development of many thousands of local farmers, with a specific black economic empowerment focus, to assist in the delivery of the fresh food strategy.  

Massmart CEO Grant Pattison said it welcomed the prospect of joining the Walmart family.

"We will now advance our strategy to ensure that our financial base is geared to accelerate growth through the opening of additional locations, which will provide more jobs and also career opportunities for our existing team, while bringing more outstanding products with lower prices to our customers.  I look forward to the ongoing support of our loyal customers, our shareholders and our suppliers.”

Walmart said it would share its experiences gained around the globe with Massmart. 

McMillon said: "Whenever Walmart enters a new market, it introduces its global operating belief that being a responsible global citizen begins with being a responsible local citizen. Walmart looks forward to enhancing the already strong credentials that Massmart has in South Africa as a responsible and productive citizen that tirelessly builds on its relationships with communities, governments and consumers."

 
walmart  |  massmart holdings  |  saccawu
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