14 Dec 2016

Abano board rejects takeover offer

1:31 pm on 14 December 2016

Abano Healthcare Group is recommending shareholders reject a partial takeover of the company, as it announces a better-than-expected first half profit.

A file photo of a chair in a dentist's surgery

Photo: 123RF

The healthcare group's net profit rose 73 percent to $5.9 million in the six months ended in November, which was better than its guidance.

Revenue rose to 8 percent to $116.8m, generated by continued strong growth from its dental business.

The company also increased its interim dividend by 60 percent to 16 cents, compared with 10 cents last year.

Abano's board also unanimously recommended that shareholders reject a partial takeover offer by Healthcare Partners Holdings, which is associated with one of its largest shareholders, Peter Hutson.

Abano said the $10 a share offer was too low, given that it was only a partial takeover offer, and also excluded the 16 cent interim dividend.

It said the takeover group had been involved in previous attempts to gain control of Abano's businesses and to force changes to the board.

"The effective offer price does not fairly value, or compensate you, for the control you would be ceding to Healthcare Partners, nor are you compensated for the risk of being a minority shareholder in a company controlled by Healthcare Partners," the board said in a statement to shareholders.

"The company would then be under the control of Healthcare Partners and its directors, whose proposed strategy is unproven and unclear."

On the other hand, the company said it had a proven strategy and track record of delivering growth and shareholder value.