The Danish Competition Council has reached a decision in a matter concerning Falck’s actions in connection with the tender for ambulance services in the Southern Denmark Region in 2014. The Council concludes that Falck violated Danish competition rules when handing over a contract for ambulance services to the Dutch company BIOS.
On 29 June 2018, Falck publicly apologised for its actions in connection with the tender. The company had failed to live up to its own standards and to the expectations of society, but did act within the rules of Danish competition law, according to its legal advisers. As a result, Falck will comply with the Danish Competition Council’s order, but will appeal the decision to the Danish Competition Appeals Board and to the courts of law.
"According to the order, we may not act as we did in 2014-15 when we spoke badly about a competitor. We will of course continue to comply with this order," said Falck CEO Jakob Riis and he continued:
"The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority does not consider why BIOS went bankrupt, but only whether Falck acted in a manner that restricted market competition. It is an embarrassment to Falck to find ourselves in a situation where the competition authorities are raising doubts about our actions. We failed to live up to our own standards and to the standards expected of Falck by society in general, but according to our legal advisers, we did act within the rules of Danish competition law. We look forward to learning how the courts of law view the matter."
In its public apology issued in June 2018, Falck addressed most of the matters raised by the Competition Council in its order, writing as follows: "We were too intent on finding information about BIOS. We were too eager to share information about a competitor with journalists who were also doing research on BIOS. In several instances, we shared information in ways that did not clearly identify Falck as a contributing source. (...) We regret some of the things we commented on and wrote about. We would certainly never want to be in such a situation again."
Jakob Riis said:
"The documents in the case show that we were careful to share only information that was correct and documentable by anyone. Falck’s collection and sharing of information would in itself not have prevented a competitor from setting up in the market, but that doesn’t change the fact that we should never have become involved in the first place."
The Dutch company BIOS has announced that Falck can expect a claim for compensation.
"We’re asking the Danish Competition Appeals Board and after that the courts of law to decide in the matter, because both we and our legal advisers disagree with the Council’s conclusions. Some of the things we commented on and wrote about in this matter are quite embarrassing, but we did not violate Danish competition law. The matter may result in lawsuits against Falck. This is common procedure and our legal advisers recommend that a matter such as this should be decided through the courts," said Jakob Riis.
For further information, please contact Falck’s Communications Department on +45 7022 0307.
Briefly about the case: Decision and three-year investigation may bring matter before the courts
Over the past three years, the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority has been conducting an investigation to establish whether Falck abused its market position in connection with the tender for ambulance services in the Southern Denmark Region in 2014.
The investigation was triggered by a complaint from the competing company, BIOS.
The Competition Council’s decision may ultimately be brought before the courts of law. Falck has appealed the matter to the Danish Competition Appeals Board. Only after the Appeals Board has considered the matter will Falck be able to bring the case before the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court.
Falck is a leading international provider of ambulance and healthcare services. For more than a century, Falck has worked with local and national governments to prevent accidents, diseases and emergency situations, to rescue and assist people in emergencies quickly and competently and to rehabilitate people after illness or injury.
Falck operates in 31 countries and has more than 32,000 employees.