Merger analysts take a close look at mergers and recommend whether they be approved or not

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

Edwina Ramohlola is a merger analyst at the Competition Commission where she has been working for 18 months.

"As a merger analyst, I investigate merger cases notified to the Competition Commission, in terms of Chapter 3 of the Competition Act. I analyse information gathered on these merger cases in order to determine the effect of a merger on competition and the public interest, and to make recommendations to the commission and the Competition Tribunal as to whether the mergers should be approved or not," she said.

Cases are allocated to her and she first checks their timing and complexity by going through the files submitted by representatives of the merging firms.

She then identifies the potential competition and public interest issues that arise with each case, as well as the stakeholders affected.

The next step is to develop an approach to each case.

"I joined the commission as a graduate trainee in March 2006 and trained as a merger analyst. This was a good opportunity to start and develop my career. As a trainee, I enjoyed the challenges and I was appointed junior merger analyst," said Ramohlola.

To enter this profession candidates need a BComm Honours in Economics or a Bachelor's degree in Law.

"When it comes to analysing mergers, there is no clear cut line between Law and Economics - the two go hand in hand. Understanding and adaptability of the current working environment plays a major role," she said.

Ramohlola has worked on several cases from different industries including mergers between Saab and Denel, Mondi and Lenco and Shoprite Checkers delisting.

More companies are becoming aware of the commission and therefore receive more merger notifications.

"We work with deadlines and have no control over the number of mergers that get notified. It is up to an individual to manage their time and work," said Ramohlola.

The job itself is challenging. You are tasked with recommending a decision that will have a major impact on the economy and country at large. You need to make well informed decisions.

To do this you need to be up to date with everything in order to appropriately interact with relevant stakeholders.

"I do a lot of reading - legal cases, competition economics and Competition Law books. The Internet is also a great way of keeping track of new developments," said Ramohlola.