Cape Town – The Competition Commission has recommended the approval of the mega-merger between SA’s biggest private hospital group Mediclinic [JSE:MDC] and Abu Dhabi-based healthcare provider Al Noor.
Commission spokesperson, Itumeleng Lesofe, told Fin24 that the transaction raised neither “competition nor public interest concerns”.
“There is no geographical overlap in the activities of the merging parties, since Al Noor does not have a presence in South Africa,” Lesofe said.
Stellenbosch-based Mediclinic listed its proposal to combine with Al Noor Hospitals Group in its 2015 annual report.
Mediclinic was seeking to expand in countries where rising household incomes have led to growing demand for private healthcare, according to a Bloomberg report.
“A combination with Al Noor would boost its operations in the United Arab Emirates, while it also owns hospitals in southern Africa and Switzerland,” the report said.
Al Noor operates three hospitals, 17 medical centres and clinics, and primarily located in the Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Al Noor CEO Ronald Lavater at the time said there was a "compelling strategic fit" with Mediclinic.
Lesofe said the transaction would not change the structure of the SA market and that the Commission had taken the view that the proposed merger was unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition.
“In terms of public Interest issues, specifically employment, the Commission found that Al Noor does not have any employees in South Africa.
“In the absence of any competition and public interest concerns as provisioned for in the Competition Act, the Commission recommended that the merger be approved without conditions,” he said.
The Competition Tribunal is set to hear the case on January 27 at 10:00.
Comment by Mediclinic was unavailable at the time of publishing.
Mediclinic shares gained 0.41% to R123 by Tuesday’s close on the JSE, the highest since May 2015.