The Competition Commission has recommended that the Competition Tribunal approve, with conditions, industrial gases company Air Liquide’s proposed acquisition of the business owning and operating 16 of petrochemicals group Sasol’s air separation units (ASUs).
The target assets are 16 ASUs based at the Sasol Secunda site. The ASUs produce both industrial and specialty gases mainly for internal use by Sasol, and also produce a small percentage of liquid oxygen and liquid nitrogen.
The Air Liquide Group supplies similar gases to those produced by the ASUs to various third parties in South Africa.
In a statement on May 31, the commission said the proposed transaction was “unlikely to result in a substantial prevention or lessening of competition in any relevant markets”.
However, the merging parties agreed to a set of public interest conditions, including committing to a substantial reduction of carbon emissions associated with the target assets over the next ten years, as well as investing in the performance and integrity of the target assets.
Although the merger will not negatively impact employment, commitments are included to provide training to upskill employees affected by the transaction through, for example, promoting a greater spread of ownership in the affected markets and, where reasonable and practically and technically feasible, procuring services and input material from small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) and black-owned enterprises.