The Market Court has extended the processing time limit for the merger of Mehiläinen and Pihlajalinna, which is being investigated by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Agency (FCCA), until 29 September 2020. This additional period is necessary to allow the FCCA to complete its investigations on this exceptionally large matter. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has hindered the FCCA’s investigations.
On 12th March 2020, the FCCA launched a further investigation into the merger. Based on the FCCA’s initial investigations, the merger may have an adverse effect on competition in the health care service market in Finland. On 27 May 2020, the FCCA issued a decision to extend the time limit for the investigation, due to the deficiencies in the information provided by Pihlajalinna to the FCCA. With the extension of the time limit for the proceedings, the further investigation under the Competition Act should have ended on 27 July 2020.
On 25 June 2020, the FCCA applied for a 23-workday extension to the time limit for the proceedings, until 27 August 2020. The extension to the time limit was necessary to ensure that the parties of the merger could be provided with sufficient time to issue their responses to the FCCA’s investigations. The parties did not oppose the extension of the time limit, and the Market Court approved the FCCA’s application on 26 June 2020.
On 18 August 2020, the FCCA requested the Market Court to further extend the investigation time limit until 29 September 2020. The FCCA requested an extension to the time limit to complete its investigations on this exceptionally large matter.
The Market Court found that the FCCA had provided compelling reasons for the extension, meaning that the time limit should be extended to 29 September 2020.
The time limit for processing the proposed merger of Mehiläinen and Pihlajalinna has been extended until 27 August 2020, FCCA press release 26 June 2020 (press release in Finnish)
FCCA opens in-depth investigation into the competition impacts of the proposed merger of Mehiläinen and Pihlajalinna FCCA press release 12 March 2020.
Director Sanna Syrjälä, tel. +358 29 505 3385
Senior Adviser Laura Kauppila, tel. +358 29 505 3335
Senior Specialist Lauri Kirkkola, tel. +358 29 505 3073
According to the Competition Act, a merger must be reported to the FCCA if the combined turnover of the parties to the concentration exceeds 350 million euros and the turnover of at least two of the parties resulting from Finland exceeds 20 million euros for both. The FCCA approves the merger provided that it will not result in any of the negative impacts mentioned in the Competition Act. The FCCA will intervene in the merger if its investigation indicates that the merger would significantly impede effective competition on the Finnish market or a substantial part thereof, in particular as a result of the creation or strengthening of a dominant position. If required, the processing of the merger notification is carried out in two phases. The first stage lasts a maximum of 23 workdays. If it is clear that the merger will not have any negative effects on competition or if the negative effects can be prevented through the conditions proposed by the parties involved, the merger is approved after this initial processing phase. If this is not the case, the FCCA makes the decision to submit the matter for further investigation in which the merger and its competition effects are comprehensively examined.
Read more about merger control.