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Massmart responds to Saccawu anti-Wal-Mart coalition announcement

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Massmart is aware that SACCAWU conducted a press conference today to launch a coalition against the potential acquisition by Wal-Mart of equity in Massmart. We first became aware of this initiative through media enquiries received on Monday, 1 November 2010. Massmart’s CEO subsequently, on 2 November 2010, established contact with the President of SACCAWU to better understand the union’s position.

During this discussion we proposed that the need for further engagement is primarily dependent upon the finalisation of the due diligence process and confirmation of Wal-Mart’s intentions, as previously conveyed to SACCAWU during a meeting convened by Massmart on 7 October.

It is clear that engagement to discuss the specifics of SACCAWU’s concerns is premature in the absence of a final offer from Wal-Mart. It seems equally clear that the position adopted by SACCAWU enjoys little support amongst Massmart employees.

Furthermore, Wal-Mart has repeatedly indicated that it will honour pre-existing union relationships and abide by South African labour law, an approach that is consistent with its practice in other countries within which it has operations.

Massmart CEO Grant Pattison said: “The door remains open to discussions with SACCAWU to the extent that they choose to engage directly with management rather than only through the media.”

Background

Massmart CEO Grant Pattison invited SACCAWU to meet to discuss the non-binding expression of interest received from Wal-Mart on 27 September, the day of the announcement. This resulted in a meeting on 7 October 2010 at which SACCAWU representatives presented their concerns and expectations. Massmart emphasised at this meeting that further engagement would be dependent upon the receipt of a final offer from Wal-Mart.

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