Dispatch from Sweden – 2011

Dear Friends,

In Stockholm, the days are getting shorter, and that means it’s the season for the julbord, the Christmas table where Swedes celebrate the season with schnapps and pickled herring. As the holidays approach, the Swedish business community feels confident about the strength of the Swedish economy, and is proud that, in contrast to much of Europe, their nation is running a budget surplus.

I recently spent time visiting healthcare companies and private equity funds in Stockholm with my Swedish colleagues.

The Swedish market has historically been a hotbed of innovation in healthcare. With a small domestic market, and a very open economy, there is a clear understanding that companies must compete in international markets in order to grow to any significant scale. Building a presence in the other Nordic markets is typically an important early step, but it is critical to note that market dynamics and the healthcare regulatory frameworks are often quite different from those in Sweden.

The provision of health care in Sweden is decentralized to the county councils, and to a certain extent to municipalities. In Sweden, county councils must provide their residents with health and medical care, and dental care for residents up to the age of 20. Municipalities are responsible for care of the elderly, either at home or in special housing. They also have responsibility for residents with physical disabilities or psychological disorders. Healthcare costs in Sweden represent 9% of GDP, which is about half that of the U.S., as a percentage of GDP.

The private delivery of healthcare services is a growing trend in Sweden and the share of private providers has been growing rapidly. Two years ago the pharmacy market was liberalized with the privatization of Apoteket AB, the government monopoly. This has led to a large investment of private equity in the pharmacy market.

Collectively, the Nordic region represents the world’s eleventh largest healthcare market, and Nordic companies are present across a wide range of sub-sectors. We would love to discuss with you how we can help you with opportunities in the region.

In the attached PDF are some metrics on the Swedish healthcare market, and recent transactions in the industry. If there is anything we at Brocair can do to assist you with your mergers and acquisitions efforts in Sweden or the other Nordics, please do not hesitate to call us.

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