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Abano board urges shareholders to wait

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/11/2016 Paul McBeth

Abano Healthcare's board has reiterated its advice that shareholders should wait for a formal recommendation before accepting a partial takeover offer from dissident shareholders Anya and Peter Hutson and James Reeves, with the board's early view that it's not in investors' best interests.

Chairman Trevor Janes and directors Pip Dunphy, Ted van Arkel and Danny Chan have told shareholders not to commit to the $10 a share offer from Healthcare Partners Holdings, an entity set up by the Hutsons and Reeves that's seeking to build a 50.01 per cent controlling stake in the healthcare investor, until the get an official recommendation with an independent adviser's report.

The shares rose 0.5 per cent to $8.45, still below the offer price.

"This is a company associated with Peter and Anya Hutson and James Reeves, who have all been involved in previous attempts to gain control of Abano and force changes to Abano's board," the directors said in a letter to shareholders.

"These prior attempts were unsuccessful and disruptive to Abano, and have cost Abano and its shareholders in excess of $1 million, not including management time."

The Hutsons and Reeves poured about 4.1 million shares, or 19 per cent of Abano, into the Healthcare Partners entity, and if the bid is successful, they would seek changes to improve the company's performance by halting acquisitions in the medium term in order to reduce debt, and improving the dental practices' operations. They would also install three new directors.

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