* China launches anti-dumping probe into dialysis kit makers
* Global no.1 player Fresenius says part of probe
* China fast growing market for kidney disease products
(Adds Fresenius comments, Chinese rivals)
By Adam Jourdan
SHANGHAI, June 13 China on Friday launched an
anti-dumping investigation into makers of blood dialysis
equipment in the European Union and Japan, including market
leader Fresenius Medical Care (FMC) AG & Co KGaA,
challenging the international firms who currently dominate the
global and Chinese markets.
China will examine any negative impact on Chinese rivals,
the country's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement posted on
its website on Friday.
The investigation is the latest in a string of trade issues
involving China where companies in the healthcare sector have
come under increased scrutiny over the last year over pricing
and allegations of corruption in China's markets.
FMC, which controls close to half of the Chinese market for
blood dialysis machines, is part of the anti-dumping
investigation, a company spokesman said. China was Fresenius's
second-largest market for dialysis products last year.
FMC believes that it has acted correctly and has not broken
any laws, the spokesman said.
Foreign companies dominate the dialysis market in China with
around three quarters of the devices used in the country in 2012
imported, according to a 2013 report from consultancy Research
in China, with the United States, Europe and Japan the major
sources of supply.
Kidney disease is a growing problem in China due to the
country's ageing population and the country already has around
119.5 million patients with chronic kidney disease, according to
a 2012 paper in The Lancet medical journal.
A smaller number of patients with severe forms of disease
may require dialysis.
The market investigation could help local firms break the
hold of larger international rivals over the country's dialysis
market, Chinese companies in the sector said.
The biggest foreign companies are Germany's Fresenius, which
has 34 percent of the global market through its
listed-subsidiary FMC, according to the firm's 2013 financial
report. U.S. firm Baxter International Inc, which owns
Sweden-based dialysis kit maker Gambro, has a share of around 30
Baxter officials did not respond to phone and emailed
requests for comment.
"We have not yet heard the news about anti-dumping probes.
But 60 to 70 percent of the market is dominated by foreign
companies. If it's true, I'm sure we would benefit from the
policy," said an official surnamed Zhu at Jihua Medical
Apparatus and Instruments Co Ltd.
She said the firm was the "number one" Chinese firm by sales
in the country's dialysis equipment market.
A spokesman for another Chinese company, Guangdong Biolight
Meditech Co Ltd, said that "everyone in the industry
would be applauding the move", because local firms struggled to
compete against the international firms.
Japanese firms, including Nikkiso Co Ltd and Nipro
Corp, are the closest rivals to their U.S. and European
counterparts. Officials at the two Japanese companies declined
to comment on the investigation.
Medical devices are not the only area where China has been
cracking down on imports. The country also began levying earlier
this month an anti-dumping tax on a chemical used in insect
repellent and refrigerants that is imported from the European
Union and the United States.
(Additional reporting by Frank Siebelt in FRANKFURT, Kazunori
Takada in SHANGHAI and Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Kazunori
Takada, Matt Driskill and Greg Mahlich)