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Press Release
Date of Release: 11 October 2023
The following press release serves as an explanatory note to assist the media in reporting on this case and is not binding on the Competition Tribunal or any member of the Tribunal.
Tribunal prohibits Sasol’s sale of sodium cyanide business to Draslovka
The Competition Tribunal (“Tribunal”) has today, 11 October 2023, issued an order prohibiting the intermediate merger involving the sale of Sasol South Africa Limited’s (“Sasol”) sodium cyanide business to a Czech Republic-based producer of sodium cyanide, Draslovka Holding A.S., through its local subsidiary, Draslovka (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd (“Draslovka”).
Sodium cyanide, a chemical compound commonly used in the extraction of precious metals like gold and silver, is an important input for the gold mining firms operating in South Africa. Sasol has a monopoly position in the production of liquid cyanide in South Africa and the gold mining sector is dependent on Sasol for the supply of liquid cyanide, according to the Competition Commission (“Commission”). In terms of the proposed transaction, Sasol would have supplied certain key inputs required in the production of sodium cyanide to Draslovka.
The Commission had earlier prohibited the transaction. Gold mining firms Sibanye Stillwater Limited (and its subsidiary, DRD Gold Limited), Pan African Resources PLC and Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited had been granted leave to participate in the Tribunal proceedings, following their applications for intervention. Ultimately, Sibanye Stillwater Limited and its subsidiary DRD Gold Limited intervened in the matter and the Tribunal called on Pan African Resources PLC and Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited to make submissions and answer questions.
The Tribunal heard oral evidence from the merger parties, the Commission and the intervenors, including factual and economic expert evidence during the merger hearing held in April and May 2023. Thereafter, the parties made further written submissions to the Tribunal, the last of which was received on 2 October 2023.
A more detailed press release will be issued when the Tribunal’s reasons for its decision are issued in due course.
The Commission prohibited the merger in November 2021 on grounds that, among others, it would likely result in a substantial prevention or lessening of competition due to post-merger price increases which would be detrimental to customers i.e. gold mining firms. The Commission also found that the proposed merger would have a substantial negative effect on the public interest given its effects on the South African gold mining sector.
The merger parties thereafter filed an application for consideration to the Tribunal based on several grounds, including that the Commission had not considered the significant efficiencies and public interest benefits arising as a result of the proposed transaction.
Issued by:

Gillian de Gouveia, Communications Manager
On behalf of the Competition Tribunal of South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 12 394 1383
Cell: +27 (0) 82 410 1195
Twitter: @comptrib
Our mailing address is:

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