Hearing begins on Wal-Mart’s bid for Massmart

New York City -- Massmart Holdings Ltd. promised to add jobs if Wal-Mart Stores is allowed to buy a controlling stake in the South African wholesaler, CEO Grant Pattison. His remarks were made on Monday at a tribunal in Pretoria, South Africa, that will determine whether Wal-Mart will be able to go through with the deal.

“We’ll add about 20 percent more trading space over the next three years,” Pattison said, according to Bloomberg. Growth in floor space will be accompanied by additional jobs, while current posts will also be secure, he said.

Wal-Mart is looking to buy 51% of Massmart. The bid has been opposed by the South African government and labor unions concerned about jobs and protecting local manufacturers and suppliers. At the hearing, South Africa’s government is expected to warn of thousands of possible jobs if Wal-Mart’s bid goes through without conditions.

As many as 4,000 jobs could be lost if Massmart shifts as little as 1% percent of procurement from local to imported sources, Johannesburg-based Business Day reported on Monday, according to the Bloomberg report.