8 Aug 2013

Joint venture partner backs hostile Abano bid

8:56 am on 8 August 2013

Abano Healthcare's joint venture partner in developing its audiology business is backing a hostile takeover bid for the company.

Peter Hutson, an Abano director, and his associates own 50% of Bay International, the audiology business in Asia and Australia, as well as a 14% stake in Abano itself.

Abano's board says it has rejected the unsolicited takeover bid and the un-named offerer has said it intends to move promptly down the formal takeover path.

The offerer had proposed a scheme of arrangement, which would have required approval from only 75% of shareholders, rather than the normal 90% acceptance threshhold.

It had also requested unanimous board approval.

Abano managing director Alan Clarke says the board thought it was important to disclose both the offer and Peter Hutson's involvement.

"I appreciate that the construct is that there is some kind of break with Peter. Peter has always taken his own counsel with respect to his investment".

Mr Clarke said Mr Hutson works well with the board, and that in the early years Hutson was instrumental in a very valuable partnership in audiology in New Zealand.

He said Mr Hutson is a chief executive of a business that is still driving to achieve a break-even result in Australia and South East Asia.

Peter Hutson was unavailable for comment.

Abano shares jumped nearly 13% to $6.60 on Wednesday, below the year's high of $6.80 in March.