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Wakefield spends $6.8 mln on specialist Auckland clinics

Wakefield spends $6.8 mln on specialist Auckland clinics

By Jason Krupp

Sept. 2 (BusinessDesk) - Wakefield Health Ltd., the hospital operator which recently took control of Norfolk Investment Ltd., said it's entered into a deal to buy an interest in Endoscopy Auckland Ltd. and Laparoscopy Auckland Ltd. as part of its ongoing expansion strategy.

The $6.8 million purchase will give the Wellington-based company a 30% share in the two businesses, with an option to extend its stake to 50% over the next five years, according to a statement filed with the NZX today. The deal is expected to be completed in September.

"These businesses have an extremely strong track record and have built an excellent position in their chosen markets as a result of an absolute commitment to providing a very high quality service backed by a dedicated team of talented professionals," Wakefield chairman Alan Isaac said.

Wakefield is buying its shares from interests related to Endoscopy and Laparoscopy Auckland director John Dunn, with Integrated Hospitals Ltd., which also owns the Mercy Ascot hospital group, keeping its 50% stake in both clinics.

Today's announcement comes after Wakefield's third bid to buy a controlling stake in Norfolk got across the line last month. It offered investors $3.80 per share, valuing the company at $24.2 million. Norfolk owns 60% of the Grace Hospital in Tauranga and Southern Cross Hospitals indirectly holds the other 40%.

"This will provide important diversification of Wakefield's earnings streams and access to new future growth opportunities," Isaac said. "All of these are well established businesses which are co-owned by committed sector investors and operate high quality facilities with pre-eminent positions in their respective markets."

Endoscopy Auckland specialises in the investigation and treatment of problems in the gastrointestinal tract, and Laparoscopy Auckland focuses on non-invasive surgery and bariatric services. Both operate from the same site based in Epsom.

Wakefield shares were unchanged at $5.10 on the NZX today, and have gained 11% so far this year.


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