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Acurity lifts stake in Auckland endoscopy, laparoscopy firm

Acurity Healthcare lifts stake in Auckland endoscopy, laparoscopy investments

By Paul McBeth

Sept. 9 (BusinessDesk) - Acurity Healthcare Group, whose major shareholders are seeking to take the company private, has lifted its stake in Endoscopy Auckland and Laparoscopy Auckland after exercising options for an undisclosed sum.

The Wellington-based company increased its investment in the specialist gastro and keyhole surgery businesses to 40 percent from 30 percent, it said in a statement. Integrated Hospitals, which owns the Mercy Ascot hospital group, will keep a 50 percent stake in the businesses.

In the independent adviser report to the Connor takeover offer, KordaMentha said Acurity management forecast a $3 million cost for the 2015 financial year to exercise the option to lift its stake in the endoscopy and laparoscopy businesses, and that it was likely to increase its stake to 50 percent in 2016.

"Acurity is very pleased to further its investment in the Auckland market in these businesses which continue to perform and have an excellent position in their chosen markets," Acurity said.

Last month, Connor Healthcare, which is made up of Acurity's three biggest shareholders, lifted its offer to buy the private hospital operator to $7.25 a share, and won over Acurity's independent directors who recommended the offer. Connor touted the cost of upgrading its flagship Wellington hospital up to earthquake code as too onerous for a public company, saying it would be better placed to absorb the cost than a publicly listed company.

Acurity's investments in the specialist Auckland medical businesses were valued at $7.3 million as at July 31, according to the independent adviser's report.

Shares of Acurity were unchanged at $6.97 yesterday, below the Connor offer price, and valuing the company at $120.3 million.


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