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Namibia gives Walmart merger the nod

Namibia’s trade and industry minister is giving Walmart’s takeover of Massmart Holdings approval, provided it does not lead to job losses within the first two years, a Namibian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Walmart must also allow the Namibian Food and Allied Workers Union to keep representing Massmart’s workers during the same period, the newspaper quoted Trade and Industry Minister Hage Geingob as saying.

Last year, Walmart took a 51% stake in Massmart, which operates in 14 African countries including Namibia.

However, the Namibian Competition Commission went to court seeking some conditions be imposed on the US retail giant.

Walmart launched its own court bid to have the conditions declared unlawful.

Adequate conditions
Namibia’s supreme court ruled last year that Geingob would have the final say on whether conditions attached to the deal were adequate.

“I consider that the conditions strike an appropriate balance between the potential economic benefits of the merger and the public interest considerations,” the paper reported Geingob as saying.

“I regard the case as closed. Let them come and work here so that we can develop the country.”

Walmart and Massmart are also awaiting judgements on appeals from the South African governments, which is seeking to attach more conditions to the group’s $2.4-billion deal.

Massmart shares are down 0.4% at 8:19GMT, compared to a 0.6% decline in Johannesburg’s Top-40 index. — Reuters

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