Companies have raised fears of Choppies encroaching their market share by offering similar products through their rampant diversification programme spearheaded by the whole acquisitions of certain companies.
Following a multitude of complaints to the Competition Authority pertinent to the proposed acquisition of Warbler Holding Pty Ltd, IT4 Africa Pty Ltd, Goldtech Pty Ltd, Healthwest Africa Pty Ltd and Solid Logistics Pty Ltd by Choppies, a public hearing was called by the CA to mull over the issues.
The four subsidiaries are incorporated with the laws of Botswana and operate in Gaborone.
IT4Africa is a wholesaler and supplies products such as computers, cell phones air cons to air con dealers, resellers and retailers, while Goldtech Holdings supplies home and kitchen appliances.
Solid Logistics provide warehousing and freight services to its associated companies.
In his comment one of the complainant, Air Cooling & Maintenance Engineer Bigisani Bamu said “we use the products of Samsung, Carrier and Hisense to their clients and for instance if the similar products are at Choppies we will be competing for the service.”
Responding to the concerns that were cited by other companies, Choppies group Chief Executive Officer, Ramachandran Ottapathu, allayed fears that “Choppies is a nice food selling retailer and it does not have anything to compete with the likes of Sefalana”
Among the questions from the Competition Authority directed to the retailers complaints was to discern if the competitors are able to buy directly from the market place.
The subsequent response was that Choppies’ competitors have access to the products in South Africa and elucidated by saying that if the retailers buy products from South Africa the prices are even cheaper.
It should however be noted that the Competition Authority acting Chief Executive Officer, Tebelelo Pule, told the attendees that Sefalana presented the letter last week and the gathering was not meant to provide the solutions but rather a hearing of complaints.