Australia's Evolution seeks clearance to take over Acurity Health

The company has applied to the Commerce Commission for clearance to buy the 88% of Acurity holding company Austron that it doesn't own.

Evolution Healthcare, the Australian healthcare investor, wants to buy out its partners in private hospital operator Acurity Healthcare [NZX: ACY], and would offload its Boulcott facility in Lower Hutt to ease any competition concerns.

The Sydney-based company has applied to the Commerce Commission for clearance to buy the 88% of Acurity holding company Austron that it doesn't own, and included a commitment to sell the Boulcott site, it said in a statement. Evolution's ownership of Boulcott delayed the Australian investor's joint venture with the Stewart family and Royston Health Trust Board to take Acurity private last year, and led to Evolution having to water down its stake in the holding company.

"We are committed to building our footprint in the New Zealand market, and to increasing the options and service available to people requiring care in the private health area," Evolution said. "Unfortunately, this means we have to sell Boulcott. However, this will result in us moving to fast-track the redevelopment of Wakefield Hospital."

The group convinced minority shareholders to sell up last year in a deal that valued Acurity at $112.2 million, with the proposed upgrade of the flagship Wakefield Hospital set to cost above $50 million, something it claimed the public company wasn't equipped to deal with.

The deal is contingent on anti-trust regulator and Overseas Investment Office approval.

Acurity chief executive Ian England said Evolution's ability to raise funds would be a boon to the redevelopment project, and the hospital operator would be able to reap procurement gains from being part of larger group.

(BusinessDesk)