25 Jul 2012

Takeover offer for Wakefield Health

6:50 pm on 25 July 2012

Wakefield Health is the subject of a $52 million partial takeover offer from two of its largest shareholders.

Austron, which is a joint venture entity owned by Royston Hospital Trust Board and a subsidiary of Masthead Holdings, is offering $6 per share for just over 50% of the private healthcare company.

The bidder says the all-cash offer is a 25% premium to Tuesday's closing price and values the company at $103 million.

Royston and Masthead's Medusa have just under 20% each. Austron says it's also secured about 5% of AMP Capital Investors' 16% stake, and more if need be, to ensure the bid is successful.

Wakefield's profit rose to $6 million in the year to June, but the company said the weak economy was putting pressure on its main source of income, private healthcare insurance.

Austron says it has no present plan to make any changes to Wakefield.

Under takeover rules, Austron has to make the offer to all shareholders.

Austron spokesman Geoff Senescall says the major shareholders want to build their interest in the sector.

He says they have a long term view and believe in the need for a strong private health sector in New Zealand, so this meets that objective.

Shares in Wakefield have risen 6.2% to $5.10 on Wednesday.