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BRUSSELS (Kyodo) The European Union on Wednesday approved a proposed merger between Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co. and Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Co., clearing the way for a deal that will create Japan’s second-largest drug maker in terms of group sales.

“The merger does not pose any competition concerns in the European Union,” the European Commission said.

The two firms signed an agreement in May to merge in April. The new firm will be called Astellas Pharma Inc.

Yamanouchi, set up in 1923, had sales of 511 billion yen in the year to last March, while Fujisawa, set up in 1930, had sales of 395 billion yen the same year.

The EC OK’d the deal as it judged the merger will not hurt competition in Europe in light of the two firms’ complementary roles. The EC thinks Astellas Pharma will face competition from larger EU players.

The EC has jurisdiction over a merger if the companies involved have combined worldwide sales in excess of 5 billion euro and European sales of more than 250 million euro.

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