Regional deputies approved the purchase on March 25. However, the move has yet to be approved by the Antitrust Office. If it agreed, Penta would own 14 hospitals, boosting its already dominant position on the market. No other private owner has influence in so many hospitals, the Denník N daily wrote.
The group owns hospitals mainly in the east of the country but it has been gradually adding facilities elsewhere.
It competed for the hospitals in Galanta and Dunajská Streda with the company called Agel that operates five hospitals. Agel wanted to buy these two hospitals for €190,000; and it wanted to invest €4.78 million in Dunajská Streda and €3.2 million in Galanta. Svet zdravia paid the purchase price of €2.1 million, promising to invest €11.7 million in Dunajská Streda and €8.7 million in Galanta.
Svet zdravia welcomed the deputies’ decision, while Agel declined to comment. The Health Ministry does not comment on the sale of regional hospitals, either, claiming it has not powers to intervene in the business activities of entrepreneurs.
Generally, ministry is not very interested in small regional hospitals and when it comes to repaying debts of hospitals, only big state-owned facilities are given resources.
INEKO analyst Dušan Zachar told Denník N that the regional government is responsible for solving the poor economic situation in these two hospitals, and he opined that it was good that Trnava region privatised them, as it did not have enough moeny for their operation and development.
He sees no problem in Dunajská Streda and Galanta hospitals being bought by Penta’s Svet zdravia, he said.
MPs approved the sale almost unanimously, with the only exception being Peter Ottinger (Slovak Democratic and Christina Union-SDKÚ), according to the Sme daily. He opined that the step will deform the market of hospital financing in the Trnava region.
Disclaimer: The Slovak Spectator is co-owned by Petit Press, where Penta has a 45 percent minority share.
25. Mar 2015 at 22:52 | Compiled by Spectator staff