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Old Mutual-Avalon case dismissed.

Posted On Friday, 25 April 2003 02:00 Published by
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South Africa's Competition Appeal Court has dismissed an appeal brought by Old Mutual Properties, a subsidiary of financial services giant Old Mutual plc (OML), against the Avalon cinema group, in which it was seeking to set aside two procedural decisions of the Competition Tribunal.
South Africa's Competition Appeal Court has dismissed an appeal brought by Old Mutual Properties, a subsidiary of financial services giant Old Mutual plc (OML), against the Avalon cinema group, in which it was seeking to set aside two procedural decisions of the Competition Tribunal.

The Appeal Court dismissed the case with costs, including that of the two counsels, it said.

The case has its origins in a complaint by the Avalon Group alleging that Old Mutual Properties had abused its dominant position and engaged in a vertical restrictive practice in contravention of the Competition Act when it awarded Ster Kinekor the lease to operate the cinema complex in the Gateway Shopping Centre in Umhlanga Rocks.

In June 2002, the Competition Tribunal made two procedural decisions in this case which were the subject of review before the Competition Appeal Court.

The first point of review was the Tribunal's decision requiring Old Mutual and Ster Kinekor to produce the lease agreement between them for inspection (that is, discovery).

Old Mutual contended that the lease agreement was not subject to discovery because it was concluded after the complaint proceedings
were initiated, and the Tribunal therefore would not have the jurisdiction to declare it void.

The second issue under review was the Tribunal decision not to grant the request of Old Mutual to hear and decide certain technical points of law prior to hearing the competition issues.

These relate, inter alia, to the proper definitions of the terms "firm" and  "exclusionary act".
 
Competition Appeal Court Judges Jali, Hussein and Malan agreed with both of the Tribunal's decisions, thereby dismissing Old Mutual's appeal.

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