On 1 March 2017 the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, the Division of Concentrations, (hereafter “the Office”) approved the merger grounded in the acquisition of indirect exclusive control of the undertaking PENTA INVESTMENTS LIMITED, the Channel Islands (hereafter “Penta” or “Group Penta”) over the assets through which the hospital and clinic in Topoľčany (hereafter “Topoľčany Hospital”) were operated by.
This approval of the Office is bound with fulfilling certain conditions ensuring that the effective competition will not be reduced as a result of the creation of this merger, and the conditions imposed relate to the operation of medical transport service.
The undertaking Penta operates in the territory of the Slovak Republic in several sectors, but due to the fact that Topoľčany Hospital operates in the sector of health care, the Office focused on this sector. Specifically, the merging parties’ activities overlap in the following areas:
- inpatient health care,
- outpatient health care,
- services of the joint diagnostic and treatment units,
- pharmaceutical care,
- medical transport service.
Since the health care in the Slovak Republic is paid mostly from the resources of compulsory public health insurance and Group Penta performs the control over the health insurance company DÔVERA zdravotná poisťovňa, a.s., the Office took into account this fact, too.
The Office assessed the possible impacts of the merger in the above mentioned areas.
It found that from the point of assessing the non-horizontal effects of the assessed merger in the relation: provider of the medical transport service – buying the services of transport medical service by health insurance companies, the assessed merger will significantly impede effective competition in the relevant market, mainly as a result of the creating or strengthening of a dominant position and therefore, it is not in accordance with the Article 12 Paragraph 1 of the Act.
Penta submitted to the Office a proposal of conditions and obligations to remove the competition concerns, which after the Office´s assessment has been accepted by the Office and it approved the merger, and the approval is bound with fulfilling the conditions (and related obligations) defined in the decision. It is a structural condition, i.e. the divestiture of the whole business of transport medical service, which prior to the merger was operated by Topoľčany Hospital, to an independent provider of transport medical service within the stipulated time. And in order to ensure the purpose of this condition, the undertaking Penta is obliged not to operate transport medical service within the defined territory (Topoľčany) for a certain period, neither to perform the acts that might lead to thwarting of the action of an independent provider of transport medical service in this territory.
The decision of the Office came into force on 1 March 2017.