RIYADH: Saudi Arabia continued to record robust business activity in March with the authorities approving 18 requests for economic concentration, official data showed.

Last month, as many as 17 concentration requests were submitted to the General Authority for Competition. The authority also oversaw a notable influx of cross-border deals, encompassing 10 acquisitions, five joint ventures, two agency deals, and one merger.

Noteworthy local transactions included Health Home’s acquisition of 39 pharmacies from Taawon Investment Group, Cigalah Group’s acquisition of a 30 percent stake in DEEF Pharmaceutical Industries and Co., and Almarai’s complete acquisition of Etmam Logistics.

On the international front, France’s SIB International secured a 55 percent stake in Saudi Arabia’s Alesayi Electronics, highlighting the global interest in the Saudi market.

Among the significant deals was the joint venture between Ajlan and Bros Holding Group and the UK’s Stratasys Solutions Ltd., focusing on developing 3D printing services.

Additionally, the Netherlands’ AXIA Power formed a joint venture with Saudi Arabia’s FAS Energy to undertake an electricity supply and generation project.

A collaborative venture has been formed between Heinemann Africa Ltd., the Jordanian Duty Free Co., and the Arab Catering and Trading Co. to manage a space spanning over 10,000 sq. meters at King Abdulaziz International Airport.

Also, among the requests approved was US’ Amentum Holding LLC’s merger with Amazon Holdco Inc. as well as Brazil’s Minerva’s full acquisition of Marfrig Global Foods.

This is a continuation of the authority’s efforts last year which saw 150 non-conditional approvals and three conditional approvals in the first 10 months, underlining its role in facilitating business expansion and collaboration.

The third quarter of 2023 alone saw the approval of 41 mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures, with 39 receiving unconditional clearance and two conditionally approved.

The authority’s diligent review of applications for inorganic growth ensures that buyouts, mergers, and joint ventures align with the Kingdom’s regulatory standards.

By curbing illegal monopolistic practices and fostering market performance, the authority not only builds confidence among consumers and businesses but also significantly contributes to Saudi Arabia’s evolving investment landscape.

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