The South Africabased private hospitals group Mediclinic is hoping to end a difficult year with a morale boosting acquisition by snapping up British counterpart Spire Healthcare, writes Iain Withers.
However, if it is going to succeed the FTSE 100 company must lift its offer. Mediclinic had a 298.6p cash-and-share offer rebuffed by Spire late last month.
Analysts judged the move opportunistic – while it represented a 30pc premium on Spire’s share price prior to the approach, that’s because its prey was at a low ebb following a profit warning caused by a drop in NHS referrals and £27m set aside to compensate victims of rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson.
Mediclinic will be under pressure on Thursday to provide an update on its plans when it unveils interim results. Under UK takeover rules it has until a week today to put up or shut up. It already owns 29.9pc of Spire. The saga is proving a welcome distraction as Mediclinic faces subdued trading in South Africa, Switzerland and Abu Dhabi. It is keen to diversify further away from its volatile home market. Demographic trends should underpin long-term growth in healthcare.
Private hospitals group Mediclinic is hoping to snap up Spire
Danie Meintjes Chief executive