Altron TMT’s acquisition of Law Trust conditionally approved by Tribunal
The Tribunal has conditionally approved the large merger wherein Altron TMT SA Group (Pty) Ltd (“Altron TMT”) will acquire Law Trusted Third Party Services (Pty) Ltd (“LawTrust”). Post-merger, Altron TMT will wholly own LawTrust.
Following an online hearing during which submissions were made by the merger parties and the Commission, the Tribunal has concluded that the merger does not substantially prevent or lessen competition in any relevant market in South Africa. In addition, the transaction does not raise any public interest concerns (the merger parties made an unequivocal undertaking that there will be no retrenchments as a result of the transaction).
The merger conditions imposed by the Tribunal seek to remedy concerns around: (i) LawTrust’s monopoly in respect of Advanced Electronic Signature certificates and require the merger parties to supply these to all South African entities downstream, including rivals, on fair and reasonable terms; (ii) the pricing of Advanced Electronic Signature certificates post-merger and require inter alia that the increase in pricing is limited to a yearly price increase linked to the consumer price index and (iii) the potential sharing of competitively sensitive information and include provisions to prevent the sharing of such information as well as to prevent cross-directorships. A non-confidential version of the Tribunal’s order and the merger conditions are available on the Tribunal’s website at www.comptrib.co.za.
Altron TMT is ultimately controlled by Allied Electronics Corporation Limited (“Altron”), a JSE listed company that is not controlled by any firm. The Altron Group invests in telecommunications, multi-media and information technology. Of relevance to this transaction is the acquiring group’s information technology security services.
Law Trust is a wholly owned subsidiary of Etion Limited, a JSE listed entity. LawTrust holds shares in Electronic DNA (Pty) Ltd, a joint venture with DataCentrix (Pty) Ltd. LawTrust is a specialist cyber security solutions provider whose main streams of business are: (i) Public Key Infrastructure, a WebTrust certified Trust Centre in South Africa from which it issues various types of digital certificates; (ii) digital signature solutions, in terms of which LawTrust issues Advanced Electronic Signatures, LawTrust is currently the only accredited provider of Advanced Electronic Signature certificates and Advanced Electronic Signatures; and (iii) biometrics software, in terms of which it develops a matching platform to support the onboarding and ID Proofing of customers for digital signature accounts.
Gillian de Gouveia, Communications Officer
On behalf of the Competition Tribunal of South Africa
Cell: +27 (0) 82 410 1195
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