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CA approves acquisition of lucrative Okavango concession

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KEABETSWE NEWEL

The Competition Authority has approved the acquisition of a lucrative concession in the Okavango by Jeffrey Lynn Rann, a US-based investor.
Through his company, Rann had proposed to acquire hospitality outfit Afro Ventures Botswana (AVB) and its businesses mostly in the lucrative tourism prime land of the Okavango.
Pursuant to Section 56(1) of the Competition Act (Cap 46:09), the Competition Authority had received a merger notification in relation to the proposed transfer of: And Beyond Xudum Okavango Lodge including the business; certain movable and immovable assets (Xudum Lodge Business); and all of Afro Ventures Botswana (Pty) Ltd’s rights in concession of NG29 (Lease Agreement) by Afro Ventures Botswana (Pty) Ltd (AVB) to Xudum Okavango River (Pty) Ltd (XOR).

XOR, the acquiring enterprise, is an entity registered under the Laws of the Republic of Botswana. XOR is controlled by its shareholders, namely the Rann Share Trust (held through its nominee shareholder, Christopher John Bray) and the Mbaiwa Family Trust (held through its nominee shareholder, Joseph Elizeri Mbaiwa).

The target is currently not trading and does not control any enterprises. The current sole director of the acquiring enterprise is Jeffrey Lynn Rann, an American citizen. Xudum Lodge Business and the Lease Agreement (hereinafter referred to as the target) are wholly owned by AVB.

AVB is an entity registered in accordance with the Laws of the Republic of Botswana. The target is managed and accounted for as a separate and distinct division within the existing business operations of AVB. The target provides accommodation services and ancillary services which include game drives, guided tours and other adventure activities in the Ngamiland District. AVB is involved in the business of luxury safari lodge and camping in the Okavango Delta. In turn, AVB is controlled by And Beyond Holdings (Pty) Ltd, an entity registered in accordance with the Laws of the Republic of South Africa.

The Directors of AVB are Jeffery Lynn Rann (American), Jason Maxwell King (South African), Hano Coetzee (South African), and HugoJoss Alexander Kent (British).
CA determined through analysis of the facts of the merger that the proposed transaction is not likely to result in the prevention or substantial lessening of competition or endanger the continuity of the service in the relevant market in Botswana. Furthermore, there are no negative public interest concerns that have been identified.

Pursuant to the provisions of Section 60 of the Competition Act, the Authority has unconditionally approved the proposed transfer of And Beyond Xudum Okavango Lodge, including the business, certain movable and immovable assets, and all of Afro Ventures Botswana (Pty) Ltd’s rights in concession of NG29 by Afro Ventures Botswana (Pty) Ltd to Xudum Okavango River (Pty) Ltd. However, as stated under Section 66 of the Act, this approval does not override or negate any other mandatory statutory approvals or processes that any of the parties to this merger must comply with under the Laws of Botswana.

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