Shoprite Source: Google Images

South Africa’s Shoprite said on Monday it would appeal against a 20 million rand ($1.4 million) fine handed to its ticket-selling subsidiary by the country’s Competition Tribunal, which found agreements signed by the firm had hit competition.

The judgment was announced ahead of a similar case that is currently before the tribunal, which relates to a later time period and is more serious because the company is included as a respondent and it carries a recommended fine of 10 percent of the turnover of Shoprite’s retail unit.

The initial case, covering 1999-2012, was referred to the tribunal in 2010 after five rivals of ticket seller Computicket, owned by Shoprite since 2005, complained the business abused its dominance by signing exclusive agreements with clients.

“There is sufficient … evidence to suggest that the exclusive agreements had resulted in anti-competitive effects,” the tribunal’s judgement said.

“Computicket will appeal the Competition Tribunal’s finding,” Shoprite, South Africa’s biggest retailer, said in response.

In December, Shoprite was named as a respondent to another case brought to the tribunal by South Africa’s Competition Commission, which recommended fining both Computicket and Shoprite’s retail division as much as 10 percent of their annual turnover.

Shoprite doesn’t disclose the turnover of its retail unit, but the division makes up the bulk of the group’s revenue, which stood at 145.3 billion rand in 2018. It is up to the tribunal to decide whether the commission’s charges and proposed fine stand.

In the earlier case, the commission recommended a fine of just under 22 million rand, whereas Computicket thought it should be closer to 10 million rand.

Shoprite’s shares were down 0.23 percent at 1134 GMT.

($1 = 13.8751 rand)