Tribunal Approves Merger Whereby Absa Bank Acquires Société Générale SA

The Tribunal has approved a large merger, without conditions, whereby Absa Bank Ltd (Absa) seeks to acquire Société Générale SA (SocGen) Johannesburg branch in respect of target assets.

Absa is a wholly owned subsidiary of Absa Group Ltd (Absa Group). Absa is listed as a regional African banking and insurance business. It offers a complete range of retail, business, corporate and investment banking products. Of relevance to the proposed transaction is its derivatives clearing services.

SocGen is a French company, listed on the Euronext Paris Exchange. It controls two firms namely Société Générale South African Nominees (Pty) Ltd and Goudstad Nominees (Pty) Ltd, referred to as the “Nominee Companies”.

The target assets comprise of SocGen’s custody, trustee and derivatives clearing business; its global custody services performed via foreign sub-custodians; and the Nominee Companies.

The custody services include safekeeping of securities, settlement, corporate actions tax, withholding, reporting and reconciliation. The trustee business provides trustee services to fund managers and administrators as well as compliance with investment funds policies. The derivatives clearing services involve the clearing of trades in respect of listed derivatives. The Nominee Companies are authorised to hold securities or interest insecurities on behalf of other persons.

In its assessment of the proposed merger, the Commission was of the view that the proposed transaction is unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in any relevant market.