SUNDAY WORLD / 15 JUNE 2021 - 11.22 / KABELO KHUMALO
Johannesburg – The Thesele Consortium, led by the 100% black-owned Thesele Group, is a step closer to acquiring Bidvest Car Rental (BCR) from the listed Bidvest Group after the Competition Commission gave the transaction the thumbs up.
The competition watchdog on Friday said it had approved the transaction.
“The commission has recommended that the tribunal approve the proposed transaction whereby New- Co [Thesele Group, Halmark Motor] and yet to be established special purpose vehicle intends to acquire BCR, with conditions,” the Competition Commission said.
“The commission is of the view that the proposed transaction is unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition.”
Potential suitors started circling BCR last year after its parent company announced that following a detailed strategic review of all Bidvest businesses, it had decided to divest from BCR and Bidair Services.
BCR is one of the three-largest car rental companies in South Africa. It started trading in South Africa under the well-known Budget brand in 1968, rebranding to Bidvest in 2015. Its services include car rentals, a chauffeur drive service, Door2Door transfers, van and truck rental, coach charters and its innovative Snappdrive keyless fleet service.
One of the conditions put forward by the commission is that the consortium commits to offer employment opportunities, under certain conditions, to the retrenched employees of BCR for a period of 12 months following the implementation of the merger.
BCR has a car fleet worth about R1.5-billion and a workforce of 1 200.
The car rental industry was severely affected during the various levels of the national lockdown, with the industry estimated to have contracted by 50% in 2020 as less people travelled due to the pandemic.
The resumption of local and international travel is seen as key to the survival of the sector.
Oliver Petersen, an executive director of the Thesele Group, said: “We thank Bidvest for their support in completing this transaction; we share their commitment to a seamless transfer of ownership and will support the BCR management team once the transaction becomes eff ective.” Meanwhile, industrial processing, distribution and services company Barloworld last month said it was exploring the sale of its car rental and leasing businesses.
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