March 19, 2018 / 11:25 AM / 2 years ago

S.Africa's Netcare gets competition clearance for $107 mln Akeso takeover

JOHANNESBURG, March 19 (Reuters) - South Africa’s competition authority has approved private hospital firm Netcare’s acquisition of Akeso Clinics after the company agreed to sell two hospitals and maintain a range of pricing levels, it said on Monday.

Netcare, South Africa’s third-largest private hospital chain which also runs Britain’s largest private hospital network, announced in 2016 the 1.3 billion rand ($108 million) acquisition of Akeso, a chain of psychiatric health facilities.

The Competition Commission had initially recommended that the takeover be blocked as it was likely to cause a substantial lessening of competition.

But the Competition Tribunal, which makes final rulings on the basis of recommendations from the Commission, said on Monday that Netcare had agreed to sell its Rand and Bell Street hospitals, both of which have psychiatric beds, and would maintain a range of prices at Akeso clinics.

Netcare said in a statement: “Following numerous constructive engagements, a joint proposal by the merging parties and the Competition Commission was made to the Tribunal that the transaction be approved subject to certain conditions.”

The deal was then conditionally approved by the Tribunal.

Akeso has 12 dedicated mental healthcare facilities, comprising 811 beds and located in various parts of South Africa, including Cape Town, George, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Nelspruit, Umhlanga and Pietermaritzburg. ($1 = 12.0562 rand) (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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