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Heather Irvine

Partner | Johannesburg

Heather-Irvine

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T: +27 11 669 9693

Overview

Heather Irvine is a partner in the Corporate Department of our Johannesburg office and a member of the Competition Practice.

She specialises in complex mergers, competition law complaints proceedings and pricing. She has particular expertise in the mobile telecommunications, financial services, broadcasting and manufacturing sectors.

Her experience includes launching two of the first applications in cartel cases to the Constitutional Court in South Africa and managing several dawn raids for clients in South Africa and Zambia. Heather has also successfully secured immunity for clients in terms of the South African Competition Commission’s corporate leniency policy. She also advises clients on their compliance programmes, and on designing and implementing online competition law training.

 

Experience

  • Gaining unconditional clearance for the large merger in which global energy group Engie acquired controlling interest in Xina CSP, which operates the Xina Solar One project in the Northern Cape Province.
  • Advising potential investors into Solar Capital De Aar, one of the largest solar farms in the Southern Hemisphere, on the definition of relevant markets in South Africa and analysis of these for competition law purposes.
  • Advising a bidder on the South Africa and Mozambique competition law aspects of its potential acquisition of Sasol South Africa Limited’s shareholding in ROMPCO.
  • Advising a bidder for the Chevron assets in Africa on the competition law aspects of its bid, including design and implementation of the due diligence and preparation of the necessary African merger filings.
  • Securing the necessary approvals in South Africa, Kenya, Cape Verde and COMESA for the formation of Anergi Group, a leading African power company, and the subsequent restructuring by the Pan African Development Funds of their shareholdings in Anergi Group.
  • Negotiations with the South African Competition Commission and the Minister of Economic Development on conditions for clearance of mergers involving complex public interest issues, including the Wal-mart/Massmart, Afgri, Netcare Pharmacy/Clicks and EDCON mergers.
  • Obtaining clearances in Africa for acquisitions by global investors such as Carlyle and Apollo Management LP.
  • Advising mobile operator Cell C on various proposed merger transactions.
  • Assisting African electro-mechanical equipment supplier ACTOM to obtain clearance for its acquisitions of Savcio, Acton Repair Services and TLT Turbbo GmbH.
  • Obtained clearance in several African jurisdictions for the acquisition by listed South African agricultural company, Omnia Holdings Limited, of global crop protection provider Oro-Agri and African base oil supplier, Umongo.
  • Obtained clearance for Steinhoff International Holdings for large mergers involving Pepkor, Iliad Africa, JD Group and Building Supply Group.

Regulatory and pricing disputes

  • Advising a group of industrial gas users on an application to the High Court to review and set aside a determination by NERSA of the maximum price for piped gas molecules.
  • Obtained urgent relief for Cell C from the High Court in relation to the proposed allocation of high demand spectrum by ICASA, as well as in relation to the amended End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Amendment Regulations, and a High Court review of the Number Portability Regulations.
  • Assisted Cell C in relation to the regulation by ICASA of wholesale mobile termination rates from 2010 onwards.

Complaints and Market Inquiries

  • Acting for various clients in the Competition Commission’s market inquiries into grocery retailing, public passenger transport and mobile data prices.
  • Acting for Macquarie Bank Limited in the South African Commission’s complaint about alleged forex price-fixing.
  • Represented various divisions of Omnia in relation to complaints about anti-competitive conduct in South Africa and Zambia, and successfully negotiated a settlement of a complaint by the Competition Commission about alleged collusion in the fertilizer industry, following protracted litigation concerning the validity of the initiation of the complaint against Omnia Holdings in the Competition Appeal Court and the Constitutional Court.
  • Dealing with dawn raids by the South African Competition Commission in the timber, tyre and packaging industries.
  • Advised mobile content streaming service, black, on an investigation by the Competition Commission into exclusionary conduct by the South Africa subscription broadcaster Multichoice, as well as ICASA’s inquiry into subscription broadcasting services.
  • Advised Consol on the application to ITAC to lift import duties on soda ash, as well as successfully secured the withdrawal by the Competition Commission of a complaint about alleged collusion on purchase of waste glass.
  • Successfully negotiated the settlement of a long running complaint about collusion by Steinhoff subsidiaries Loungefoam and Vitafoam.
  • Acted for Cell C in various complaints in terms of the of the Competition Act, including a complaint involving an alleged abuse of dominance by Blue Label.
  •  

Awards

  • Chambers and Partners ranked Heather in Band 2 for Competition/ Antitrust for four consecutive years (2021-2024).
  • Legal 500 ranked Heather as a Leading Individual for Competition for two years (2023-2024).
  • Heather was featured as one of only three women in Africa for her work in the competition space by Global Competition Review, 2021.
  • IFLR1000’s Financial and Corporate Guide rated Heather as a Highly Regarded lawyer for Competition for four consecutive years (2020-2023).
  • Who’s Who Legal recognised Heather as a Leading Lawyer by for Competition Law for three consecutive years (2020 to 2022).
  • Recognised by Women@40 in their 40s Notable Women in Competition in 2019.
  • Recognised by Global Competition Review‘s 100 Successful Women in the Field of Global Competition Law in 2016 and 2013.
  • Named Global Competition Review World Top 40 Under 40 in 2012.

‘Heather Irvine has an exceptional understanding of South African competition law. We found her advice and guidance commercially sound and very practical.’ – Chambers and Partners, 2024

‘Heather Irvine is our trusted SA antitrust counsel. She leads a very strong team. A true leader, smart, organised, technically strong, commercial, patient.’– Legal 500, 2024

AREA OF EXPERTISE

Qualifications

  • BA and Honours degrees (both cum laude) and an LLB (magna cum laude) from the University of Cape Town.
  • Competition Law Certificate from the University of the Witwatersrand.
  • She has been an external examiner in undergraduate and master’s competition law courses at that university for the past five years.
  • Heather is an officer of the International Bar Association’s Antitrust Committee

INSIGHTS

South Africa: Stakeholders invited to comment on draft South African Draft Vertical Restraints Regulations Africa: Highlights from Bowmans’ 12th Annual Africa Competition Law Conference 2024 (2 of 3) South Africa: Competition Commission intends to launch Polymers Market Inquiry South Africa: Final Guidelines on the revised approach to public interest in merger control South Africa: Competition Commission publishes Draft Terms of Reference for Poultry Market Inquiry South Africa: Draft block exemption regulations for suppliers and users of energy South Africa: First dawn raids by the Competition Commission in several years are a reminder to maintain dawn raid readiness Feedback from Bowmans’ 10th African Competition Law Conference South Africa: Ground-breaking Economy Concentration Tracker to guide enforcement by the Competition Authorities, Government and regulatory reforms, and more private sector regulation South Africa: Ground-breaking Constitutional Court ruling on the role of the competition authorities in promoting the right to healthcare Block Exemption Regulations issued for the Security of Supply of Essential Goods South Africa: DTIC issues a competition policy for jobs and industrial development Press briefing by South Africa’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition with CEOs and unions on worker ownership structures South Africa: Competition Commission initiates inquiry into online intermediation platforms South Africa – Competition Commission concerned about competition in the digital economy COVID-19: Excessive pricing – Cases pursued by the South African Competition Commission South African competition authorities respond to COVID-19 2020: a crucial year for mobile data regulation
Related Sectors
TMT

Overview

Heather Irvine is a partner in the Corporate Department of our Johannesburg office and a member of the Competition Practice.

She specialises in complex mergers, competition law complaints proceedings and pricing. She has particular expertise in the mobile telecommunications, financial services, broadcasting and manufacturing sectors.

Her experience includes launching two of the first applications in cartel cases to the Constitutional Court in South Africa and managing several dawn raids for clients in South Africa and Zambia. Heather has also successfully secured immunity for clients in terms of the South African Competition Commission’s corporate leniency policy. She also advises clients on their compliance programmes, and on designing and implementing online competition law training.

 

Experience

  • Gaining unconditional clearance for the large merger in which global energy group Engie acquired controlling interest in Xina CSP, which operates the Xina Solar One project in the Northern Cape Province.
  • Advising potential investors into Solar Capital De Aar, one of the largest solar farms in the Southern Hemisphere, on the definition of relevant markets in South Africa and analysis of these for competition law purposes.
  • Advising a bidder on the South Africa and Mozambique competition law aspects of its potential acquisition of Sasol South Africa Limited’s shareholding in ROMPCO.
  • Advising a bidder for the Chevron assets in Africa on the competition law aspects of its bid, including design and implementation of the due diligence and preparation of the necessary African merger filings.
  • Securing the necessary approvals in South Africa, Kenya, Cape Verde and COMESA for the formation of Anergi Group, a leading African power company, and the subsequent restructuring by the Pan African Development Funds of their shareholdings in Anergi Group.
  • Negotiations with the South African Competition Commission and the Minister of Economic Development on conditions for clearance of mergers involving complex public interest issues, including the Wal-mart/Massmart, Afgri, Netcare Pharmacy/Clicks and EDCON mergers.
  • Obtaining clearances in Africa for acquisitions by global investors such as Carlyle and Apollo Management LP.
  • Advising mobile operator Cell C on various proposed merger transactions.
  • Assisting African electro-mechanical equipment supplier ACTOM to obtain clearance for its acquisitions of Savcio, Acton Repair Services and TLT Turbbo GmbH.
  • Obtained clearance in several African jurisdictions for the acquisition by listed South African agricultural company, Omnia Holdings Limited, of global crop protection provider Oro-Agri and African base oil supplier, Umongo.
  • Obtained clearance for Steinhoff International Holdings for large mergers involving Pepkor, Iliad Africa, JD Group and Building Supply Group.

Regulatory and pricing disputes

  • Advising a group of industrial gas users on an application to the High Court to review and set aside a determination by NERSA of the maximum price for piped gas molecules.
  • Obtained urgent relief for Cell C from the High Court in relation to the proposed allocation of high demand spectrum by ICASA, as well as in relation to the amended End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Amendment Regulations, and a High Court review of the Number Portability Regulations.
  • Assisted Cell C in relation to the regulation by ICASA of wholesale mobile termination rates from 2010 onwards.

Complaints and Market Inquiries

  • Acting for various clients in the Competition Commission’s market inquiries into grocery retailing, public passenger transport and mobile data prices.
  • Acting for Macquarie Bank Limited in the South African Commission’s complaint about alleged forex price-fixing.
  • Represented various divisions of Omnia in relation to complaints about anti-competitive conduct in South Africa and Zambia, and successfully negotiated a settlement of a complaint by the Competition Commission about alleged collusion in the fertilizer industry, following protracted litigation concerning the validity of the initiation of the complaint against Omnia Holdings in the Competition Appeal Court and the Constitutional Court.
  • Dealing with dawn raids by the South African Competition Commission in the timber, tyre and packaging industries.
  • Advised mobile content streaming service, black, on an investigation by the Competition Commission into exclusionary conduct by the South Africa subscription broadcaster Multichoice, as well as ICASA’s inquiry into subscription broadcasting services.
  • Advised Consol on the application to ITAC to lift import duties on soda ash, as well as successfully secured the withdrawal by the Competition Commission of a complaint about alleged collusion on purchase of waste glass.
  • Successfully negotiated the settlement of a long running complaint about collusion by Steinhoff subsidiaries Loungefoam and Vitafoam.
  • Acted for Cell C in various complaints in terms of the of the Competition Act, including a complaint involving an alleged abuse of dominance by Blue Label.
  •  

Awards

  • Chambers and Partners ranked Heather in Band 2 for Competition/ Antitrust for four consecutive years (2021-2024).
  • Legal 500 ranked Heather as a Leading Individual for Competition for two years (2023-2024).
  • Heather was featured as one of only three women in Africa for her work in the competition space by Global Competition Review, 2021.
  • IFLR1000’s Financial and Corporate Guide rated Heather as a Highly Regarded lawyer for Competition for four consecutive years (2020-2023).
  • Who’s Who Legal recognised Heather as a Leading Lawyer by for Competition Law for three consecutive years (2020 to 2022).
  • Recognised by Women@40 in their 40s Notable Women in Competition in 2019.
  • Recognised by Global Competition Review‘s 100 Successful Women in the Field of Global Competition Law in 2016 and 2013.
  • Named Global Competition Review World Top 40 Under 40 in 2012.

‘Heather Irvine has an exceptional understanding of South African competition law. We found her advice and guidance commercially sound and very practical.’ – Chambers and Partners, 2024

‘Heather Irvine is our trusted SA antitrust counsel. She leads a very strong team. A true leader, smart, organised, technically strong, commercial, patient.’– Legal 500, 2024

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