Deal allowing takeover of Edcon by creditors gets tribunal’s approval

The Competition Tribunal has approved with conditions a transaction that will allow the takeover of Edcon by a variety of its creditors‚ under a newly formed entity known as Parentco.

Some of the private equity investment firms and banks under the Parentco umbrella include Franklin Templeton‚ Harvard Pension Fund‚ Barclays Africa and FirstRand.

Late in September‚ Edcon announced that its then owner‚ Bain Capital‚ would walk away after a R25bn investment into the company. The move was necessitated by a debt burden too heavy to tackle.

Edcon CEO Bernie Brookes said at the time that Bain would cede control to Edcon’s creditors and financial investors in a debt to equity transaction.

The Competition Commission had initially recommended that the deal be approved by the Tribunal without conditions. But it is understood that government stakeholders and Edcon held last-minute discussions on Wednesday — the eve of the Tribunal’s decision — to discuss issues relating to employment.

The Tribunal added conditions with regard to the retention of jobs‚ increasing employment‚ retaining Edcon’s present black economic empowerment shareholder participation as well as expanding procurement from local suppliers.

Edcon has undertaken to employ and train a further 2‚000 new staff who will be deployed in stores throughout SA.

Depending on trading conditions‚ these additional staff are expected to be employed within the next two years.

Edcon has also committed to building and implementing an import replacement programme‚ which will procure supplies locally.

Over the next five years‚ the retailer has committed to meeting the Department of Economic Development quarterly‚ to track the company’s progress in this regard.

Edcon will ensure that as a result of the transaction‚ the participation of the Edcon Empowerment Trust will not be reduced and that the rights of the beneficiaries of the trust will not be adversely affected.

With approval granted‚ conclusion of the transaction is expected by early 2017.


- TMG Digital/BusinessLive

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