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AFCA files request for examination with Cartel Court in connection with the Fujifilm Corporation/FujiFilm Healthcare Corporation merger

AFCA filed request for examination with Cartel Court on 1 July 2020.

On 22 May 2020 the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) was notified of the planned acquisition of all of the shares in Fujifilm Healthcare Corporation by Fujifilm Corporation, thereby giving it sole control of the company (Z-4896). The planned merger concerned the following areas of business to be taken over by Fujifilm Corporation:

  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Healthcare IT
  • Support solutions for digital operations and
  • Cryotherapy equipment by Hitachi, Ltd.

Fujifilm Healthcare Corporation (headquartered in Japan) is a subsidiary of Hitachi (also headquartered in Japan) and was established for the purpose of transferring the target business to Fujifilm Corporation.

The planned merger had also been notified in Germany, China and Turkey, with none of the competition authorities giving the merger the go-ahead. Further merger notifications might also follow in other countries.

Affected market

The areas in which the business activities of the companies overlap in Austria and the European Economic Area concern the following product categories:

  • Computed tomography scanners
  • External ultrasound systems
  • Endoscopic ultrasound systems

Result of examination: regulators concerned about ultrasonic processors in the area of endoscopic ultrasound systems

AFCA’s examination yielded competition concerns, specifically in the business area of endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) owing to horizontal overlaps and potential vertical foreclosure and crowding out strategies.

Potential vertical foreclosure and crowding out strategies were seen in particular with regard to the supply of processors, endoscopes and software, and the provision of maintenance services.

High barriers to entry also exist for new competitors in the area of endoscopic ultrasound systems, as these systems come with highly complex manufacturing processes, technology and regulatory parameters. No new companies entered this market in the EU over the last ten years.

Owing to the described competition concerns, the AFCA and the Federal Cartel Prosecutor filed a request for examination with the Cartel Court on 1 July 2020. The Cartel Court is obliged to examine requests within a period of five months.