Court to mull CP-Tesco merger

Court to mull CP-Tesco merger

Lotus unveils new brand “Lotus’s” at two pilot stores, including this Ramintra branch.
Lotus unveils new brand “Lotus’s” at two pilot stores, including this Ramintra branch.

The Administrative Court has agreed to consider a petition lodged by a group of consumer watchdogs over the Trade Competition Commission's (TCC) decision to approve the merger of CP Retail Development Co and Tesco Stores (Thailand) Ltd.

Led by the Foundation for Consumers, the network of 37 consumer advocacy groups filed the petition on March 14, urging the court to issue an injunction to prevent possible negative impacts on consumers.

On March 22, the court decided to take up the case and asked the petitioners to submit a written explanation as to why an injunction is necessary, along with evidence to support the claim.

Saree Ongsomwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, told the media yesterday that the group planned to ask the court for more time to prepare to prepare the written explanation.

The court had asked them to send in the requested documents by the end of today.

She said the group's members will meet sometime this week, before reaffirming their position on the issue.

"We stand by the stance that the TCC's decision is against the anti-monopoly law," she said.

In November, TCC approved the CP-Tesco deal but imposed certain conditions, including a three-year ban on acquisitions in the same sector in a bid to cushion any impacts that the transaction may cause.

TCC said while Tesco's acquisition by CP Retail will increase Charoen Phokphand Group's dominance in the market, the deal won't result in a monopoly.

It also said while the deal could significantly reduce competition in the retail sector, it won't have an adverse impact on the economy, or on consumer interests.

TCC President Sakol Varanyu-wattana said that his office received a letter from the Administrative Court on Friday.

He said the Administrative Court's decision to take up the case will not affect the CP-Tesco deal as it only meant the court agreed to hear the case, not rule on the merger.

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