Fair trade watchdog CCI has approved the proposed joint venture between American Express and Juweel Investors, part of sovereign wealth fund Qatar Holding, saying the deal is unlikely to have an adverse impact on competition in India.
Under the deal, American Express’ global business travel services, which also has India presence, would be transferred to the new joint venture — GBT III B V.
The joint venture is between American Express and Juweel — a special purpose vehicle set up by Qatar Holding and certain other investors.
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“The Commission is of the opinion that the proposed combination is not likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India,” CCI said in an order.
It noted that Qatar Holding did not have any interest/ investment in any Indian company that is engaged in global business travel services.
“Some of the portfolio companies of Qatar Holding are engaged in hotel business, shipping services and air transportation services in India and have arrangements to use Amex’s marketing services,” CCI said.
“However, considering the presence of several offline and online travel agency service providers, the proposed combination is not likely to raise any competition concern,” it added.
Qatar Holding is registered as a foreign institutional investor with the Securities and Exchange Board of India and invests in sectors such as financial institutions, retail and consumers, real estate and media. It has interest in two hotels in India as well as a Doha based commercial airlines that has offers services to and from India.
On the other hand, Amex is engaged in distribution of traveller’s cheque, taking institutional deposits, running back office finance operations, among others, in India.
The deal was entered between the companies on March 14, this year, following which they had filed for CCI’s approval on April 17.