Mauritius moves towards a mandatory merger control regime

Posted in Eastern Africa Blog post

Reforms are underway in Mauritius to introduce a mandatory merger control regime. According to the Competition Commission of Mauritius (CCM), these reforms are necessary to address the deficiencies of its current voluntary regime that is only producing a small number of notifications on an annual basis. The CCM will shortly be presented with proposals that will be taken through the legislative process.

The Competition Act, 2008, the Mauritian competition legislation, provides for the voluntary notification of mergers that result in, or are likely to result in, a substantial lessening of competition. Due to the paucity of notifications, the CCM is concerned that the merger control regime is not sufficiently regulating those mergers with a potential impact on competition in Mauritius. As an illustration, from July 2017 to June 2018, the CCM reviewed 7 mergers, whereas in the previous year, the CCM reviewed 8 mergers.

While the CCM has been encouraging parties to notify mergers as well as monitoring any anticompetitive mergers that have not been notified, it has taken the policy decision to introduce a mandatory merger control regime. A consultant has been appointed to formulate proposals on the merger control regime together with other aspects of the Competition Act. While the process was supposed to end around June 2019, this timeline has now been extended. Once the proposals have been accepted by the CCM, the CCM will engage the Ministry of Financial Services and Good Governance and the State Law Office.

The impact of the proposed regime on mergers and acquisitions (especially foreign-to-foreign mergers) will need to be assessed once the details are published. As Mauritius is a COMESA Member State, the introduction of a mandatory regime will not change the fact that mergers notified to the COMESA Competition Commission will not need to be notified to the CCM.

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