Altech ordered to pay MTN, Verizon

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

Altech will have to foot the bill for all the costs incurred as a result of its late notification that it was withdrawing from a vital merger hearing, the Competition Tribunal said yesterday.

Last year the ICT company requested leave to intervene in the R1,4 billion merger between MTN and Verizon South Africa.

After much persuasion, the tribunal relented and stipulated that the schedule would be very tight - meaning that all parties involved, including merging parties and the tribunal, had to work over Christmas.

Altech's intervention application was then withdrawn the day before hearings were set to begin.

The tribunal then ordered Altech to pay MTN and Verizon's legal costs, but would not disclose yesterday how much. According to the tribunal, Altech has already appealed the decision at the Competition Appeals Court. The tribunal said the costs award against Altech were justified.

It said: "We understand our jurisdiction to award costs to be limited to party and party costs. Had we not suffered from this limitation we would have considered this an appropriate case to award punitive costs against Altech."