12 Dec 2013

Shareholders complain about Abano's performance

6:58 am on 12 December 2013

Abano Healthcare shareholders who supported the recent failed take-over bid are now complaining about the company's dental strategy and profit performance.

Former Abano director Peter Hutson, and James Reeves, who own nearly 20% of Abano, say an independent report by Grant Samuel was not independent and had major flaws and they claim the company will need to raise more capital in the next few months.

Abano refutes all the accusations: it has just raised $18.5 million, half of that raised from retail shareholders who applied for 2½ times the number of shares available.

The Grant Samuel report valued Abano's shares between $8.30 and $10.05 compared with the $7.80 a share proposal, which was never formally put to shareholders from the consortium Messieurs Hutson and Reeves were part of.

Mr Hutson would not say exactly what he hopes to achieve from his public criticism of the company saying he will talk to shareholders.

Mr Hutson still owns half of an audiology joint venture, which he manages, with Abano.

The leader of the consortium, Archer Capital, a Australian private equity firm, had wanted to keep Abano's dental operations and, if it were successful in taking over Abano, had proposed selling the company's 50% of the audiology business to Mr Hutson for a nominal sum.

Other Abano directors forced Mr Hutson to resign from the board in September because of his conflict of interest.