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Pacific Equity Partners to buy Evolution controlling stake

Pacific Equity Partners to buy controlling stake in private hospital operator Evolution

By Paul McBeth

Sept. 25 (BusinessDesk) - Pacific Equity Partners will buy a controlling stake in New Zealand private hospital operator Evolution Healthcare for an undisclosed sum.

The Australian private equity firm has agreed to buy a majority position in Evolution from institutional investors including Roc Partners, a Goldman Sachs fund, Qantas Superannuation, VicSuper and CBUS. That leaves Evolution's founding managers as the minority partners with PEP. The deal is subject to various approvals and is expected to be completed early next year.

No price was given, but the Australian Financial Review's Street Talk column reported the stakes were pitched at more than A$300 million.

Evolution chair Andrew Savage said PEP will provide capital and support for a wide-ranging development programme, including the upgrade of Wellington's Wakefield hospital, and expansions of the Royston, Bowen and Grace hospitals and the company's allied health, oncology and mental health services.

"This investment is excellent news for our company, our staff, our specialists and our patients because it supports our ambition to provide innovative and world-class healthcare services across New Zealand and Australia," he said.

Evolution has been invested in New Zealand for several years, helping take Acurity Health Group private in 2014 in a deal valuing the company at $112 million.

The Australian health investor later bought out its partners and under its stewardship sold the underlying hospital properties to Vital Healthcare Property Trust in a leaseback arrangement. The property investor also took on the plans to redevelop the sites.

In March, former health minister Jonathan Coleman quit politics to take up the chief executive at Acurity.

New Zealand's private health sector has attracted interest from Australian investors this year. ASX-listed Integral Diagnostics spent $105 million on four Auckland radiology clinics in May.


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