Econex was created in 2005 as a joint venture between Prof Nicola Theron and Prof Rachel Jafta, flowing from their consulting work as academic economists. In the decade since then, Econex has grown into a mature consulting firm, specialising in competition, trade and general applied economics.
Our economists have been involved in the economic analysis of competition cases right from the start of the new dispensation, following the new Competition Act of 1998. During the early period of consultations to reform South Africa’s competition law culminating in the Competition Act of 1998, Prof Rachel Jafta accompanied three lawyers (David Unterhalter, Norman Manoim and Leora Blumberg) on a study tour to Germany and Belgium to report on the rationale for and practice of competition policy in these countries. They conducted interviews with policy makers and practitioners (e.g. at the Bundeskartellampt in Germany and the EU Commission in Brussels). Their reports were used as input into subsequent discussions on SA competition policy reform.
Early benchmark cases on which Econex advised the parties, or the competition authorities, include the abuse of dominance cases against SAA in relation to travel agent commissions, the margin squeeze case against Senwes, the exclusive distribution case against British American Tobacco and the acquisition of Kaya FM by Primedia. Expert economic evidence was given by Prof Theron during these proceedings. Subsequently, Econex has provided economic analyses on many of the important cases in sectors such as telecommunications, health, agriculture, etc. At the beginning of 2009, Econex moved its head office to Stellenbosch, and opened a Cape Town office in 2012.