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3i prescribes DocMorris sale

Internet pharmacy up for grabs

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Europe in Brief Online pharmacy DocMorris, the Netherlands-based firm which for three years sold over-the-counter and prescription medicines to Germans, is to be sold by its main investor 3i.

DocMorris was involved in a much-publicised dispute with German pharmacists' union last year. The union tried to stop the company from conducting business in Germany, claiming that cross-border Internet and mail order was illegal under German law. A Frankfurt court referred the case to the European Court of Justice, which ruled that European pharmacies are allowed to sell over-the-counter medicines on the Internet to any other member state.

DocMorris did €50m of business last year - much better than anticipated. However, under recent German health care reforms the company can expect to face fierce competition. KarstadtQuelle AG is reported to be interested in purchasing DocMorris.


Sweden: emergency radio network by 2009

The Swedish Defence Material Administration has appointed a consortium of Saab, Nokia and Swedia Networks to complete the first stage of the new joint radio communications system for the public safety authorities in Sweden.

The infrastructure is based on the TETRA standard and will be used by almost any Swedish security and safety authority, such as the police, the Swedish Rescue Services Agency, the Swedish customs, the Coast Guard and the Swedish Armed Forces. The construction of the new radio communications system will be finalised in 2009, but the SEK2.3bn network won't be fully operational until 2011.


Belgium: online advertising on the rise

The online advertising market in Belgium grew by a dazzling 60 per cent in 2003, Expatica reports. According to Belgium's Internet Advertising Bureau, advertisers spent €18.4m on web advertising in 2003 compared to €11.5m in 2002.

Companies producing foods, cosmetics and cleaning products have finally discovered the internet, IAB says. In 2003 this category grew from three to over eight percent.


Denmark: Core Websystems sold

New York based Game Trust has acquired Aarhus company Core Websystems, a Danish outfit which develops gaming solutions for online and wireless applications. The two companies have co-operated on developing the game platform Game Frame over the last two years.

Core Websystems has supplied solutions to Danish TV channel TV2 and to Earthlink Games. It is the second game company in Denmark to be sold. Only four weeks ago, IO Interactive was snapped up by Eidos - the company behind Lara Croft - for around DKK250m ($40m). ®

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