Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Netcare Mulling $5.9 Billion Sale Leaseback of UK & South African Hospital Portfolios?

Business Report - November 20, 2007

Netcare could sell its South African property business, worth R9.5 billion, to unlock more value for shareholders, Richard Friedland, the chief executive, said yesterday.

Friedland said there were at least four or five options the company could explore when the properties were sold. Those included leasing back the hospitals and allowing shareholders to have a stake in Netcare and the property portfolio. Friedland would not be drawn into the time frames of when this could be finalised.

He said there were no discussions taking place around the issue at present, but it was an option the company knew could yield a great deal of value. Netcare manages 56 hospitals in South Africa. It owns 44 of those.

Two months ago, Netcare said it could sell its UK property, which was valued at more than £2.2 billion (R30.2 billion). Peter Nelson, the group's chief financial officer, said those plans were on hold. "We are still open minded to the sale, but the interest rates are very high in the UK right now and we need that to settle down a bit," Nelson said . "At the right time and for the right price we will sell, but it is not our main focus as we stand here today." Sphere: Related Content

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