The Czech anti-monopoly commission, the UOHS, has blocked a deal which would have resulted in the merger of the three largest mineral water companies in the Czech Republic, Karlovarske Mineralni Vody (KMV), Podebradka and Hanacka Kyselka.

The merger would have created a company with 75% of the mineral water market which UOHS chief, Josef Bednar, said would inhibit the development of other producers and could result in price rises.

The deal was originally rejected by the UOHS in the autumn but was appealed. KMV, which produces the Mattoni brand, acquired Podebradka, the third largest player in the Czech water market. KMV already has a 35% stake in the number two water company, Hanacka Kyselka. However, KMV is itself owned by the Dutch Ronaldsay group which has a stake in HBSW, producers of the Dobra Voda brand which has a 33% share of the market.

The combined sales of the three largest bottled water companies in the Czech Republic are in the region of 550m litres compared with a total market volume of around 700m litres.