27 Nov 2013

Abano Healthcare weighs options

6:51 am on 27 November 2013

Abano Healthcare is considering several different options to add value for shareholders, including other takeover offers, potential sales of parts of its business and opportunities to work with other businesses.

Chairman Trevor Janes said the pseudo-takeover offer from Australian venture capital firm Archer Capital, supported by former director Peter Hutson, has accelerated and brought forward other options which the board is assessing.

At Tuesday's annual meeting of shareholders, Abano unveiled an independent valuation by Grant Samuel which said Abano's shares were worth $8.30 - $10.05 and valued the company, as an enterprise, at between $258 - $291 million.

Mr Janes said the board decided shareholders needed more information in light of the behind-the-scenes manoeuvring by Archer, even though no formal takeover bid had been made.

"We'd been trying for some time to get them to make it code compliant so that we could get information out to our shareholders," he said.

"The difficulty is, if it's not a code compliant bid then you can't recover costs from the other side. But in the end, the board decided it was so important to inform the shareholders that we commissioned the Grant Samuel report as an independent appraisal."

Abano had been approached by other companies after the Archer-Hutson move came to light but it had wanted to wait until after Tuesday's meeting, Mr Janes said.

"There's definitely interest in what we're doing, that's not surprising, but there's nothing of any substance at the moment," he said.

"At this stage, given that we've said what the company is worth, somebody who wanted to take us over would have to pay a full price, and there may be opportunities to partner with people in doing things as well."

Previously, Abano has said Archer was offering up to $7.14 a share for Abano but that Abano's dental operations alone were worth about $250 million.

The company on Tuesday confirmed an advisor to Archer asked last week what the board's attitude would be to a $7.80 per share offer. Abano dismissed an offer at that level.