Activist investor seeks sale of top air ambulance firm
Voce Capital Management, a San Francisco-based hedge fund, has asked air ambulance company Air Methods Corp. to consider selling itself to a private equity firm and avoiding the transparency of being a public company.
Voce sent a letter last week to the company’s board of directors. Englewood, Colo.-based Air Methods is the largest air medical transportation provider in the country. Voce owns almost 5% of Air Methods and said it is the company’s sixth-largest shareholder.
The hedge fund said the company’s public status has damaged its ability to make money and has eaten away at its stock price.
Air Methods relies heavily on government payers. Medicare patients represent about 35% of its air ambulance rides, and Medicaid accounts for about 25%. About 27% of transports come from commercially insured patients, who make up most of its overall patient revenue.
Because Air Methods is publicly traded, its financial results “are available for everyone—including the commercial (payers) now responsible for the vast majority of its revenue—to dissect on a quarterly basis,” Voce said in the letter. The hedge fund said that diminishes the company’s pricing power.