By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS, July 10 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
to ease competition concerns, 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 sector set to expand in line with rising obesity and
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. company 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, which accounts for
about 2 percent of its renal product sales.
It has submitted the same offer to regulators in Australia
and New Zealand.
The EU antitrust regulator is scheduled to decide on the
deal by July 22. The Commission's spokesman for competition
policy, Antoine Colombani, said: "This investigation is still
ongoing, one cannot prejudge its outcome."
Baxter spokeswoman Deborah Spak said the company was not in
a position to comment, adding, "nothing has been announced or
confirmed in terms of a remedy."
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.
Baxter shares closed 0.2 percent lower at $71.32 on
Wednesday. The company's shares have gained 7 percent so far