29 June 2022
The merger between Euroapotheca and Oriola cleared in phase 1 on 29.06.2022
On 29 June 2022, the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA) cleared the merger between Euroapotheca and Oriola. The merger was cleared in phase 1 without remedies.Euroapotheca is based in Lithuania and runs pharmacies in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden and Poland, in Sweden under the brand Apoteksgruppen. Apoteksgruppen operates around 190 pharmacies in Sweden. Oriola is a listed company headquartered in Finland. In Sweden, Oriola operates a chain of 320 pharmacies under the brand Kronans Apotek. In addition, Oriola is one of only two firms in Sweden which stocks and distributes prescription medicines on behalf of drug manufacturers as well as buy and sell over-the-counter drugs and other pharmaceutical goods.The SCA investigated the horizontal overlap between the parties on the pharmacy markets in Sweden. The joint national market share is below 30 percent, while much higher in some local markets. It was noted in the SCA decision that online pharmacies likely constitute a competitive constraint on physical pharmacies, although the SCA did not take any formal stance on whether online belongs to the same relevant product market. The SCA argued in its decision that the pharmacy market in Sweden both has elements on national competition (e.g. national pricing and homogenous product offering) and local competition (from a demand side perspective). The SCA also analysed possible vertical effects and found that these were not significantly anticompetitive.RBB Economics assisted the merging parties throughout the pre-notification and the proceedings together with law firms Hannes Snellman and Cederquist.The SCA decision can be found [here].