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Commerce Commission clears Evolution to acquire Austron

Media release

Issued 21 September 2015
Release no. 27

Commerce Commission clears Evolution to acquire Austron

The Commission has given clearance to Evolution Healthcare (NZ) Pty Limited to acquire all of the shares in Austron Limited, subject to Evolution selling Boulcott Hospital.

Austron Limited, owned by the Royston Health Trust Board and Medusa Limited, is the majority owner of Connor Limited, which in turn owns the Bowen and Wakefield private hospitals. Evolution Healthcare (NZ) Pty Limited is part of the Australian-based Evolution Healthcare Group and owns Boulcott Hospital in Lower Hutt. Evolution is also a minority owner in Connor Limited.

Evolution’s acquisition of Austron would result in Evolution owning three of the four private hospitals in Wellington, with Southern Cross Hospital being the only independent competitor. However, Evolution has given the Commission an undertaking to divest the business and assets of Boulcott Hospital to an independent party which must be approved by the Commission.

Commission Chairman Dr Mark Berry said, “The Commission is satisfied that subject to the undertaking, the acquisition will not have or would not be likely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in any of the affected markets.”

“Evolution’s undertaking to divest its interest in Boulcott Hospital will return the market to its pre-acquisition structure, with three competitive options for health insurers, ACC, and patients,” said Dr Berry.

A public version of the written reasons for the decision will be available shortly on the Clearances Register.

Background

This is the third application for clearance that the Commission has considered involving these parties, and the supply of private hospital services in Wellington.

On 11 December 2014, the Commission declined an application from Connor Healthcare to acquire all of the shares that it did not currently own in Acurity. Click here for more details.

On 17 December 2014, the Commission granted an application from Connor Healthcare to acquire all of the shares that it did not currently own in Acurity, subject to an undertaking that Evolution reduce its shareholding in Acurity to pre-acquisition levels. Click here for more details.

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