Clover factory. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Clover factory. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Consortium Milco’s R4.8bn acquisition of listed foods and beverages group Clover Industries has been given the go-ahead by the Competition Tribunal.

The tribunal has put a three-year moratorium on retrenching 516 workers, it said on Wednesday, noting that that number had also been subsequently lowered to 277 planned job losses.

The deal, announced in February, will see the consortium, led by Tel Aviv-based Central Bottling Company, acquire the entire issued share capital of Clover for R25 per share.

Unions at Clover — the General Industries Workers' Union (Giwusa) and Inqubelaphambili Trade Union (ITU) — had opposed the merger plan.

In July, the Competition Commission recommended that the tribunal approve with conditions Milco's acquisition of Clover. The conditions included a moratorium on job cuts for a two years after the approval of the merger.

The tribunal raised the moratorium to three-years, further noting that the merging parties had said 550 new permanent positions would be created by the merged entity over the next five years.

Clover's share price was up 1.29% to R22.81 as of 1.42pm, bringing its year-to-date gain to 25.4%.

With Siseko Njobeni

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za