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Acurity Health says 'don't sell' as offer lags valuation

Acurity Health takeover offer 13 percent below bottom end of adviser's value range

By Paul McBeth

Aug. 17 (BusinessDesk) - Acurity Health Group, the private hospital operator formerly known as Wakefield Health, is worth at least 13 percent more than the $6-a-share offer by its two biggest shareholders, according to the independent adviser's report.

The board of Acurity unanimously recommends shareholders don't accept the offer, which is "materially below the independent adviser's assessed value range for Acurity shares of $6.92 to $7.88," they said in a statement. The caveat on that is if investors have a short-term goal of realising cash immediately.

"Consistent with this recommendation, Acurity's chief executive officer and those independent directors who have an interest in Acurity shares have decided not to accept Austron's offer," the company said.

The Stewart family and Royston Hospital Trust Board each own 19.99 percent of Wakefield and have agreement with AMP Capital Investors (New Zealand) to acquire enough of the fund manager’s holding to hold 50.01 percent via their JV investment vehicle, Austron.

"The independent directors consider Acurity to have excellent medium to long term prospects, and see Austron's offer as a significant commitment to and measure of confidence in those prospects from Royston and Medusa," it said.

Acurity flagged a small increase in annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, with net profit in line with the 2012 result of $6.5 million.

Earlier today Austron said it would agree to lift pool of directors' fees to $420,000 from $400,000, the first such increase in four years.

The independent adviser's report and target company statement have been mailed to shareholders.

Shares in Acurity were unchanged at $5.70 today, and have gained 19 percent this year.


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