17 Oct 2013

No formal offer for Abano yet

2:18 pm on 17 October 2013

The tussle over Abano Healthcare continues, with no formal offer on its audiology business being put forward by the parties attempting to make a hostile takeover.

Abano's former director, Peter Hutson, who holds a 15% stake in the company and owns half of the Bay Audiology business, is supporting a potential takeover of the group by Australian private equity firm, Archer Capital.

If the takeover succeeds, Archer wants to keep Abano's dental operations but plans to sell Mr Hutson Abano's share of the audiology business in Australia and Asia for a nominal sum.

But Abano says the takeover offer significantly undervalues the whole business, and values the Bay Audiology arm at nothing.

Last week Abano's board threw down the gauntlet to Mr Hutson, telling him and the interested parties to put a price on 50% of the Bay Audiology business.

Abano would then choose to either sell its half-stake to Mr Hutson, or buy him out.

But the company has heard nothing, and its managing director, Alan Clarke, says the whole saga has been distracting.

Mr Clarke says the lack of response to its offer is disappointing and it reinforces the conflict of interest inherent in the takeover proposal.

Abano has also announced its Wellington-based pathology business, Aotea Pathology, has signed a one year contract extension, worth just over $26 million with the Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast District Health Boards.