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Falck has abused its dominant position by excluding BIOS from the Danish market for ambulance services

30. January 2019

On the 30th of January 2019 the Danish Competition Council (”DCC”) ruled in a case concerning Falck’s (Denmark's largest provider of ambulance services) abuse of dominant position by deciding and implementing an exclusionary strategy which aimed at excluding Falck’s competitor BIOS from the market.

Chairman of the Danish Competition Council states:

“Falck's strategy targeted BIOS consisted, among other things, of - secretly - conveying negative stories about BIOS to the press and to Falck’s employees, and purposefully influencing those paramedics who considered jobs at BIOS, in order to prevent them from applying for jobs at BIOS. Overall, Falck's behavior made it difficult for BIOS to recruit paramedics, and ultimately BIOS had to leave the market.”

The DCC has decided that Falck abused its dominant position in the period from the 25th of August 2014 to October 2015 by deciding and subsequently implementing a strategy which aimed at excluding Falck’s competitor BIOS from the market. The object of the strategy was to create uncertainty and concern about BIOS as a supplier of ambulance services and as an employer and to make it difficult for BIOS to recruit paramedics in the Region of Southern Denmark.

The DCC has decided that Falck must cease the illegal behavior and abstain from similar activities in the future. Furthermore, the DCC has decided, subject to the outcome of a possible appeal before the Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal, to refer the case to the State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime, which may lead to the imposition of fines.

Falck is Denmark’s largest provider of ambulance services. BIOS became Falck's biggest competitor in Denmark, when the company in August 2014 won a public tender on provision of ambulance services in the Region of Southern Denmark for a period of ten years from September 2015.

Paramedics are a very important - and at the same time a limited - resource. To fulfill the contract with the Region of Southern Denmark, BIOS therefore had to recruit paramedics from Falck.

In July 2016, BIOS went bankrupt, and from August 2016 the Region of Southern Denmark took over the provision of ambulance service in the Region through its own newly founded company, Ambulance Syd.