Competition Commission approves Namport-EBHN merger

The Namibian Competition Commission (NCC) approved a proposed merger between the Namibia Ports Authority (Namport) and Elgin Brown & Hamer Consortium (Pty) Ltd, which will give the port authority 100 % shareholding in Elgin Brown Hamer Namibia (EBHN).
EBHN is one of Namibia’s largest marine-industrial and ship repair companies and operates Namibia’s only floating docks, Namdock I, Namdock II and the only Panamax size floating dock in the southern hemisphere, Namdock III.
Namport acquired the controlling stake in EBHN a substantial time ago and as this merger is believed to be detrimental to competitiveness, the NCC laid down a number of strict conditions for the merger to take effect.
The most significant of these conditions are the smallest of the three floating docks will be operated as a common user dock, meaning vessels will only be paying docking fees and will be open to use by any other service provider of choice for maintenance and repair work.
During inquiries yesterday the restrictions set down by the NCC were met with mixed reactions. Some of the smaller players in the industry remain sceptical that a monopoly position would not now ensue, whilst another said Namport finds the restrictions detrimental and this could lead to the proposed merger to be cancelled. No confirmation for this could be obtained at the time of going to press.
The NCC received an application for the approval of the merger in August 2016. After a series of considerations and a public meeting in Walvis Bay during which the local marine ship repair industry expressed concerns Namport will now have a monopoly, the commission formulated the above restriction as well as a number of additional conditions as Namport is also the 100 % shareholder in the Walvis Bay Syncrolift. This could have serious implications for the remainder of the marine-industrial, marine engineering and ship repair operators who would thus be restricted in the use of the facilities.
The NCC made its decision official when it published a notice to this effect in the Government Gazette (No. 6288, dated 18 April 2017, Notice No. 113, case: 2016AUG0042MER).

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