Little time was spent on competition issues during the three days of the Competition Tribunal’s hearing about the proposed merger of Sibanye-Stillwater and platinum producer Lonmin. This was entirely because there weren’t any such issues. Instead, the tribunal sought to square the matter of the sustainability of the embattled platinum producer with concerns about job losses of more than 13,000 staff. The proposed acquisition of Lonmin by Sibanye-Stillwater has put pressure on the shares of the companies — they have both lost 43% in market value so far this year. Over this time the platinum price has also deteriorated; in August it dipped below a decade low of $800 an ounce. Most platinum producers are feeling the pinch, but Lonmin appears on its last legs and told the tribunal it will run out of cash in 18 months. The company has raised $1.6bn from its shareholders through three rights issues over the past eight years, but has little to show for it. Now CFO Barrie van der Merwe says...

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