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South African regulator approves British American Tobacco, Twisp merger

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South African regulator approves British American Tobacco, Twisp merger

The Competition Tribunal of South Africa on Aug. 13 conditionally approved the merger between British American Tobacco PLC and e-cigarette maker Twisp (Pty) Ltd.

Under the conditions set by the regulator, the combined entity cannot retrench any employees for two years, effective from the date of completion of the transaction. The merged group is also not allowed to enter any agreements with retailers to deny space or sale of products such as e-cigarettes of their competitors.

In addition, the combined group cannot team up with retailers to get more than 70% of the visible space for RRPs, or products that have the potential to present less risk of harm to smokers than traditional cigarettes, such as vaping and heat-not-burn tobacco products.

The regulator earlier recommended against the merger over competition concerns but later changed its stand after reaching an agreement with both parties on certain conditions.

In May, the Competition Tribunal allowed Gold Leaf Tobacco Corp. and the local arm of Philip Morris International Inc. to intervene in the ongoing merger proceedings.