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