Weldamax to acquire EWNS Enterprises

The Competition Commission has approved the proposed transaction whereby Weldamax intends to acquire EWNS, without conditions. Weldamax, which was purchased by Air Products South Africa last year (https://metalworkingnews.info/air-products-south-africa-acquires-weldamax/), is directly controlled by Air Products South Africa (Pty) Ltd (APSA). APSA is jointly controlled by Air Products and Chemicals Incorporated (APCI) and Remgro Ltd (Remgro). APCI is a firm incorporated in the United States of America and is not controlled by any firm. Remgro is a South African diversified investment holding firm and it is also not controlled by any firm. Weldamax, APSA and all firms controlled by these firms will be referred to as the Acquiring Group.

Of relevance to this merger assessment are the Acquiring Group’s activities through APSA and Weldamax. APSA manufactures, supplies, and distributes industrial and specialty gas in South Africa. The industrial gas manufactured and supplied by APSA includes acetylene, argon, carbon dioxide, helium (speciality gas), hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. These gases are used in welding and cutting applications.

Weldamax is a distributor of (1) APSA’s packaged industrial and specialty gas and (i2) welding equipment as well as welding consumables under the brand names Maxweld and Braze and Thermamax. The welding equipment and consumables include a range of manual metal arc welding, stick manual arc welding, and related consumables and accessories.

The primary target firm is EWNS, whose subsidiaries include EWNS Germiston (Pty) Ltd and EWNS Sasol (Pty) Ltd. EWNS and the firms it controls are collectively referred to as EWNS.

EWNS is a distributor of APSA’s packaged industrial and speciality gases which are mainly used for welding applications. EWNS does not distribute any packaged industrial and speciality gas for APSA’s competitors. In addition, EWNS also sells welding equipment and consumables which it procures from Weldamax and other suppliers as well as LPG in cylinder format, filler materials, safety equipment, personal protective equipment, and abrasives.

The Commission found that the proposed transaction is unlikely to result in substantial prevention or lessening of competition in any relevant markets. The Commission further found that the proposed transaction does not raise any public interest concerns.