Competition watchdog conditionally approves merger between healthcare sector contractors

Competition watchdog conditionally approves merger between healthcare sector contractors

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has cleared, subject to a number of legally binding commitments, the proposed acquisition of sole control of Kings Laundry Limited by Berendsen Ireland Limited.

Berendsen and Kings Laundry are two of the three main providers of outsourced flat linen rental and maintenance services to healthcare customers in the State.

Following formal notification to the CCPC in August, an extensive two-phase review was undertaken to establish whether the proposed transaction would result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market for goods or services in the State.

In the course of the investigation, the CCPC identified competition concerns arising from the proposed transaction, specifically in relation to the likely impact on prices and quality of services due to the reduction in the number of suppliers available to current and future customers in the healthcare market.

To address the Commission’s concerns, Berendsen offered a commitment to sell a set of contracts with healthcare customers that were serviced by Berendsen prior to the proposed transaction to another supplier, approved by the CCPC, to ensure sufficient competition remains in the healthcare market.

Following detailed consideration and analysis, including market testing, the CCPC has issued its determination that these commitments are sufficient to address the identified competition concerns in the healthcare market.

Berendsen has committed not to implement the proposed transaction until after they have sold the contracts.

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