Green light for Kopitiam takeover

The planned Kopitiam takeover by NTUC Enterprises has been cleared by Singapore’s competition watchdog.

In a decision released Thursday, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said the acquisition of the food centre operator would not lead to a substantial lessening of competition.

NTUC Enterprises announced the plan in September and since then the CCCS has evaluated three areas of potential competitive impact.

Kopitiam has 80 outlets – 56 foodcourts, 21 coffee shops and three hawker centres, along with two central kitchens. NTUC Enterprise is the single-largest shareholder of NTUC Social Enterprises, parent of NTUC Foodfare, that manages 14 foodcourts, 10 coffee shops and nine hawker centres.

The CCCS investigated the proposed takeover’s effects on the impact on the sale of cooked food, the impact of rent for hawker centre stalls and the impact on rent for stalls in coffee shops and food courts within the two operators’ catchment areas. It found no grounds for concern in any of those areas.

It determined that the two parties in the deal are not each other’s closest competitors, meaning food vendors will still have some bargaining power, barriers to entry and expansion are likely to remain low, and a collusion between operators is unlikely.

NTUC Enterprise said in a statement it welcomed the decision and would continue working towards closing the acquisition next month.

“NTUC Enterprise will continue to work as a group to fulfil our social mission of providing quality essential services and products,” said executive director Kee Teck Koon.

“In particular, with the combined footprint of NTUC Foodfare and Kopitiam, we will be in a better position to make quality cooked food affordable and more widely accessible to all.”

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