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NMa: health care providers Carinova Leiboom Groep, Vérian and Sutfene call off their merger plans

Dutch health care providers Carinova Leiboom Groep, Vérian and Sutfene have withdrawn their application for a merger license. The withdrawal was announced after the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) had earlier published its preliminary objections resulting from the second-phase investigation.

The NMa's first-phase investigation had already indicated that the merger of the health care providers could impede competition on the markets for domestic care and personal care in the regions of Apeldoorn-Zutphen, Midden-IJssel and Zwolle. In a further investigation, the NMa looked into the planned merger's effects in more detail. It had found that the merger would lead to problems on the markets of domestic care and of personal care and nursing in a part of the abovementioned regions. Competitive pressure would have dropped significantly as a result of the planned merger, leaving the health care providers involved with little incentives to provide health care at a favorable price-quality ratio. In reaction to these preliminary findings, the parties of the planned merger have withdrawn their license application.

Since 2004, in its assessments of concentrations in the health care industry, the NMa has issued decisions in 104 cases, including 61 cases related to the Exceptional Medical Expenses Act (AWBZ). Since 2004, there have been ten concentration cases where the parties of the planned mergers have called off their merger plans themselves, having taken into account the NMa's objections. In addition, there have been nine cases where the concentrations eventually did go through, albeit in modified form, after parties had offered the NMa so-called remedies (proposals) to take away the NMa's identified objections.