FCCA opens in-depth investigation into proposed merger between Mehiläinen and Pihlajalinna

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) is initiating further proceedings regarding the merger in which Mehiläinen Yhtiöt Oy would acquire sole controlling interest in Pihlajalinna Oyj. Based on the agency’s initial investigations, the merger may have an adverse effect on competition on the heath care service market in Finland.

Both Mehiläinen Yhtiöt Oy, part of the Mehiläinen Group, and Pihlajalinna Oyj, a listed company of Pihlajalinna Group, operate in the health and social services market in Finland on a large scale. Both parties to the merger provide healthcare services acquired by individuals, insurance companies and employers, in addition to offering publicly funded social and health care services.

The FCCA was notified of this merger on 10 February 2020. In the first phase of its investigations, the FCCA has consulted the parties’ competitors, customers and goods suppliers, and has investigated into the matter through broad-ranging requests for statements and information. Based on the FCCA’s initial investigations, the merger may have a negative competition impact on the Finnish heath care service market. Based on the investigations, the combined market shares of the parties to the merger may become significant at a national and local levels in a number of private healthcare market segments, as well as in the publicly funded health care market. According to the FCCA’s assessment, the potential effect of the merger on the social services market also needs further investigation.

The FCCA considers it important to continue investigating the competition impacts of the merger. The further proceedings will examine whether the merger may significantly impede effective com-petition in the Finnish market or a substantial part thereof. As a result, FCCA may approve the mer-ger as such, approve it conditionally, or propose that the Market Court prohibit the deal. The further proceedings may take a maximum of 69 working days. The Market Court may extend the deadline for the further proceedings by at most 46 working days.

The decision handed down by FCCA contains confidential business secrets of the parties. The decision cannot be made public until after the business secrets have been removed, or in about two weeks’ time.

Further information:
Senior Specialist Laura Kauppila, tel. +358 29 505 3335
Senior Specialist Lauri Kirkkola, tel. +358 29 505 3073
Director Sanna Syrjälä, tel. +358 29 505 3385