The Competition Commission has dealt a blow to British American Tobacco (BAT) SA’s plans to expand into e-cigarettes in SA with the acquisition of the biggest vaping company Twisp, and has blocked the deal on the grounds that it would substantially lessen competition. BAT SA announced in December that it would acquire Twisp for an undisclosed sum, subject to regulatory approval. At the time, its CEO Soraya Benchikh said the company was "committed to the growth of our next-generation products business and it was only natural that we extend our offering in SA with a range that is familiar to this market". On Thursday, the Competition Commission said it would recommend to the Competition Tribunal that the transaction be prohibited, because it would result in the removal of a potential competitor. Its investigation found there were separate markets for the supply of cigarettes and e-cigarettes; BAT was a leading supplier of e-cigarettes in Europe and the US, while Twisp dominated the lo...

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