Friday, July 12, 2013

EU to clear Baxter's $4 billion buy of Sweden's Gambro: sources

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators will approve a $4 billion bid by Baxter International Inc for Sweden's Gambro AB after the U.S. company offered to sell a unit which makes up a fifth of its turnover, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The deal, which Baxter announced in December last year, would make it the second biggest manufacturer in the dialysis market, a market set to expand in line with rising obesity and diabetes.

Gambro, based in Lund, Sweden, is one of the largest makers of equipment for hemodialysis, which is usually done in a hospital or clinic. Baxter's machines are used for peritoneal dialysis which can be done at home. The U.S. firm also makes drug infusion pumps and blood therapy products.

"The European Commission is expected to clear the deal based on the remedy," said one of the people who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Baxter has pledged to sell its global continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) business including contracts, customer orders and manufacturing facilities. It has submitted the same offer to regulators in Australia and New Zealand.

The EU executive is scheduled to decide on the deal by July 22. The Commission's spokesman for competition policy, Antoine Colombani, did not immediately respond to an email asking for comments.

Baxter and Gambro compete against U.S.-based DaVita and Germany's Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co KGaA, the biggest player in the hemodialysis market.

Baxter is buying Gambro from Swedish investment holding company Investor AB and its partly owned private equity company EQT.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Martin Santa and Elaine Hardcastle)


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