Partner Robert Legh leads the competition team at Bowman Gilfillan. Legh is nominated to The International Who’s Who of Competition Lawyers and Economists alongside Derek Lotter and Jean Meijer. The thriving antitrust group includes eight partners, eight senior associates and three associates.
The team enjoyed another busy year in 2011, handling a mix of competition matters. Bowman Gilfillan advised Altech Netstar when the company was accused of using prohibited horizontal practices when setting industry standards – although those practices were implemented at the behest of the South African Insurance Association. The charges were overturned by the Competition Appeal Court, but further appeals are pending.
The firm is also handling a number of cartel investigations. It is advising Continental Tyre on alleged cartel conduct in the vehicle tyre manufacturing industry; it is acting for MOL Mitsui on an investigation of collusion in the international liner shipping market, and the firm is counsel to Pretoria Portland Cement – the leniency applicant in the Competition Commission’s cartel investigation in the cement industry. Suidwes Investments and Foodcorp are also clients.
On the transactional side, the competition group is handling Pioneer Hi-Bred’s acquisition of 80 per cent of Pannar Seed. The deal was prohibited by the commission on 8 December but Pioneer has asked the Competition Tribunal to reconsider the deal. The firm also handled Kansai’s takeover of Freeworld Coatings. The deal faced opposition from Freehold’s board of directors on both competition and public interest grounds. The commission imposed certain conditions on the tie-up, which are being challenged before the tribunal.