The NTUC and NEA will soon form 2 out of the 3 biggest food centre operators in Singapore.
This comes after NTUC Enterprise was given greenlighted by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore to acquire Kopitiam Group.
NTUC Enterprise now manages 14 foodcourts, 10 coffeeshops and 9 hawker centres under NTUC Foodfare.
The acquisition of Kopitiam will add 56 foodcorts 21 hawker centres and 3 hawker centres to its stable.
With 113 food outlets under its control, NTUC will be the 3rd biggest operator in the industry.
Above it is the National Environment Agency, which manages and regulates 114 markets and food centres.
Koufu is the biggest operator of food outlets in Singapore, managing 131 foodcourts across the island.
Following Koufu, the NEA and NTUC is Kimly, which manages 63 food centres.
NTUC’s acquisition of Kopitiam Group has come under intense public scrutiny.
Many have questioned whether there is a conflict of interest when it comes to the protection of workers working at NTUC-run food centres, in the wake of the government’s failed Social Enterprise Hawker Centres initiative.
Others have raised their concerns over the move being anti-competitive.
However, the CCCS said that it has studied the deal and concluded that NTUC’s acqusition of Kopitiam will not lead to significant lessening of competition in the industry.
The CCCS said that food vendors will still have some bargaining power, barriers to entry and expansion are likely to remain low, and a collusion between operators is unlikely, adding that the merged entity from the proposed acquisition would not have the ability or incentive to shut out competitors and to mandate purchases through central kitchens and supply chain networks.