Altech UEC sale held up by collusion probe


Altech UEC sale held up by collusion probe

Published Date: 2017-12-18 | Source: Stephen Gunnion | Author: Stephen Gunnion

Altech UEC sale held up by collusion probe

The Altron subsidiary was one of 13 companies targeted in a dawn raid by the Competition Commission

Altron says the sale of its Altech UEC business may be delayed due to a Competition Commission investigation into the government's 2014 tender for set-top-boxes as part of the move to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT).

In a statement on Friday, the electronics company denied Altech UEC had been involved in any collusion and said no money or fees were paid to any of the third parties it engaged with ahead of the tender. Last month, the Sunday Times reported that President Jacob Zuma's son Mxolisi was offered a R54 million bribe by Altech UEC to help swing the contract its way.

Altron said Altech was one of only a few companies in the country with the capability and capacity to make large quantities of set-top boxes and had been approached by a number of third parties who wanted to partner it in the tenders. However, it said it took a commercial decision not to enter into agreements with any of these entities and ultimately was unsuccessful in its bid to secure the tender, which was awarded in March 2015 to an unrelated company

Related article: New-look Altron aims for double digit growth

Following media reports suggesting impropriety, Altron said it initiated an internal investigation in August and found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Altech. It was one of 13 companies raided by the Competition Commission last month as part of its investigation. Subsequent to the dawn raid, the company appointed an external legal firm, Bowmans, to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations. Altron is expecting Bowman's final report at the end of January.

The company's shares fell 4.6% to R10.70 on Friday.

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