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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

ECA probing transportation industry, seeks expanded powers

**#5 EXCLUSIVE- ECA looking into Ocean Alliance: The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) is looking into international shipping consortium Ocean Alliance and its decision to leave East Port Said, an ECA official told Enterprise. The group — which includes CMA CGM Group, APL, Evergreen, and China’s COSCO Shipping — left the port last month over high fees. The “ECA sees signs of unlawful collusion” between the various shipping concerns, which could warrant antitrust action, the source added.

ECA actively working to scupper Uber, Careem merger talks? It appears that the ECA is in talks with a number of other antitrust regulators in a bid to end a merger that could come from the ongoing talks between ride-hailing rivals Uber and Careem, ECA Chairman Emir Nabil suggested. Nabil refused to comment further.

Our ECA source told us yesterday that both Uber and Careem denied they were in merger talks. The ECA has made it no secret that it does not want a merger to take place, issuing two warnings against such a move. Nabil’s statement came after Bloomberg revealed that were ongoing on a potential USD 2.5 bn sale of Careem to Uber, with active encouragement from Careem’s board.

Expect ECA to zero in on transportation in the months ahead: Both investigations come as part of the ECA’s agenda to focus heavily in the coming period on the transportation sector, our source told us.

The competition authority also wants new powers under an amended Antitrust Act. The expanded powers would give it teeth and scope comparable to antitrust agencies abroad, the source told us, without revealing any details. This is likely a revival of a push last year by former ECA Mona El Garf, which would give the authority the right to block M&As. El Garf had said at the time that the ECA would likely have sign-off on transactions worth more than EGP 100 mn.

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