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Rhön-Klinikum AG can acquire Kreisklinik Bad Neustadt a. d. Saale

Date of issue: 15.09.2015

After conducting intensive investigations in the first phase of merger control the Bundeskartellamt has cleared plans by the hospital group Rhön-Klinikum AG to acquire Kreisklinik Bad Neustadt a. d. Saale from the Rhön-Grabfeld administrative district.

Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "When exercising merger control in the hospital sector we examine whether local patients will have enough options to choose from in future. In this way we ensure that there is still sufficient competition for quality in the sector. Ten years ago we had to prohibit the project which we have now just cleared. Since then market conditions in the Bad Neustadt a. d. Saale region have changed considerably. The merger is now unlikely to significantly impede competition."

Rhön Klinikum AG operates specialist clinics in Bad Neustadt a. d. Saale for cardio-vascular diseases, hand surgery and neurology with a total of 693 regular hospital beds as well as a clinic for psychosomatic medicine. In 2014 Rhön sold, amongst others, the St. Elisabeth-Krankenhaus in Bad Kissingen and Klinikum Meiningen to the Helios-Kliniken hospital group. Since then Helios has been an important competitor in the Bad Neustadt a. d. Saale region. Kreisklinik Bad Neustadt a. d. Saale is a hospital providing basic and standard care with 225 regular beds in the specialist medical areas of surgery, internal medicine, gynaecology/obstetrics and ENT.

The investigations showed that Rhön's specialist clinics have a much wider catchment area than Kreislinik Bad Neustadt and that only a small proportion of their patients come from the Bad Neustadt market area. A change in the services offered or quality of treatment to the detriment of the patients would lead to a significant outflow of patients. The examination of the merger also revealed that the range of services provided by Kreisklinik Bad Neustadt and Rhön-Kliniken differed considerably. The overlaps in services were limited to two medical areas (diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue and diseases of the circulatory system). The results of the investigations showed that there would be sufficient competitive pressure in these areas even after the merger so that a reduction in the scope or quality of services for patients was unlikely.

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