In a decision taken precisely during the pandemic outbreak, the Competition Authority ruled against Hospital Particular do Algarve, S.A. due to gun-jumping
E.U. & Antitrust Newsletter Portugal
Companies are responsible for reporting concentrations when certain criteria are met relating to the Competition Act. Until the companies obtain a clearance decision from the competent body, these types of operations must be suspended. The implementation of these operations in breach of this obligation is known as gun-jumping and might trigger high fines.
In this case, Hospital Particular do Algarve, S.A. acquired exclusive control of Hospital S. Gonçalo de Lagos, S.A. creating or reinforcing a market share “equal to or greater than 50% on the market of the provisions of hospital healthcare services by private companies on the Algarve”.
According to the Competition Act, this operation should have been notified to the Competition Authority before being concluded.
Since Hospital Particular do Algarve, S.A. collaborated in the investigation, the amount of the fine was reduced. The Competition Authority also allowed the fine to be paid in instalments, for the purpose of safeguarding the provision of medical services in the middle of a pandemic, thus avoiding a negative impact on the company jeopardizing the continuation of its business.
When analysing this merger, in spite of the high market shares of both undertakings, the failing firm defense was taken into consideration to clear this merger.