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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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UOKiK President grants conditional approval for consolidation

< previous | next > 07.09.2021

UOKiK President grants conditional approval for consolidation
  • UOKiK President Tomasz Chróstny has issued conditional approval for the acquisition of Betamed by Air Liquide.
  • Both companies operate, among others, in medical service markets financed by the National Health Fund.
  • The conditions imposed mean that competition will not be restricted, and as such, the patients' situation will not be affected.

The business activities of the consolidating companies overlap in the regional markets for mechanical ventilation services provided at home and financed with public funding.

Such services are contracted by the National Health Fund and are available to patients who may be cared for at home but require mechanical ventilation. The services provided by the companies consist in regular visits to the patients by doctors, nurses and physiotherapists. They also include providing and maintaining the ventilation equipment, as well as training the patients and their loved ones in its use.

The companies compete at two levels. First, as part of competitive processes initiated by the National Health Fund. Second, whenever there are several entities contracted by the National Health Fund in the given area; in this case, they compete for patients through the quality of services provided.

Following UOKIK's investigation of the matter, UOKIK President found that the transaction would restrict competition in the regional markets of the Dolnośląskie and Małopolskie Voivodeships. Patients in these areas could be deprived of the choice of which service provider they want to use. At the same time, it has been possible to impose on Air Liquide certain conditions that will eliminate the risk of restricting competition, as well as risk to patient health.

"The conditions imposed will ensure that the transaction does not limit competition. This means that patients who receive specialist care under existing contracts concluded by Betamed with the National Health Fund can continue to receive such help and will not be affected in any way. The number of entities applying for contracts with the National Health Fund will not decrease either", said UOKIK President Tomasz Chróstny.

Conditions imposed

  • Air Liquide will operate under Betamed's existing contracts with the National Health Fund for long-term home care for mechanically ventilated patients in the Dolnośląskie and Małopolskie Voivodeships, with these contracts to expire by 30 June 2022.
  • Betamed will participate in the National Health Fund competition proceedings for the provision of such services after 30 June 2022. Its bid will be based on its know-how and experience, with the service range offered no smaller than that offered in the previous years. Should the National Health Fund choose Betamed's bid, Betamed will enter into a contract with it.
  • Air Liquide will establish a company or companies to which it will transfer part of Betamed's assets related to the provision of home mechanical ventilation services to patients in the Dolnośląskie and Małopolskie Voivodeships. Such company or companies will then be sold to an independent investor not affiliated with Air Liquide.
  • The buyer will also need to be approved by UOKiK President.

According to law, a transaction shall be notified to the antitrust office if it involves entrepreneurs whose aggregate turnover in the preceding year exceeded EUR 1 billion worldwide or EUR 50 million in Poland. When assessing consolidations, UOKiK President may prohibit or approve them, or impose certain conditions that must be met for the applicants to receive approval. All consolidation decisions issued by UOKIK remain valid for two years.

The decision issued is not final. The applicant has the right to appeal to the Court of Consumer and Competition Protection. At the same time, we would like to inform you that the UOKiK website provides information on all antitrust proceedings pertaining to consolidations, which are conducted by UOKiK.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 246
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

Attached files

 

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