Abano settles sale of Bay Audiology NZ

Abano has today settled the sale of its New Zealand audiology business and acquired a share in the new merged Australasian audiology business.

Abano Healthcare Group today confirmed the settlement of the sale of its New Zealand audiology business, Bay Audiology Limited to National Hearing Care (New Zealand) Limited, a company associated with Crescent Capital Partners, for NZ$157.8 million.

In addition, following the settlement of the Bay Audiology sale, Abano has acquired, on a 50:50 basis with interests associated with Peter Hutson, an aggregate 13 percent stake in the merged Bay Audiology/National Hearing Care audiology business. The total investment cost of NZ$30 million has been met as to 50% each by Abano and the Hutson interests.

Chair of Abano, Alison Paterson said: “The sale of Bay Audiology will realise cash proceeds to Abano of approximately $118 million. As has been previously advised, the Board will return a total of approximately $53 million to shareholders through a special early interim dividend and an off-market, pro rata voluntary share buyback to be completed in December 2009. Together these will equate to over $2 per share.”

Alison Paterson commented: “Following the capital return, the reduction of debt and the investment into the new merged Australasian audiology business, Abano will still have sufficient funds to continue investment into its existing growth businesses. These have been identified as Audiology in Australia and Asia, Dental in New Zealand and Australia and Radiology in New Zealand. These are all strong businesses with considerable potential and growth opportunities, and we see an exciting future for Abano in the years ahead.”