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Abano gets green light for Bay sale

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/05/2016

Abano Healthcare's sale of its 50 per cent stake in audiology company Bay International has been declared unconditional after the NZX granted a waiver that means the deal doesn't need shareholder approval.

The healthcare investor has agreed to sell the stake to interests associated with its former director Peter Hutson for $32 million, almost three times book value.

It will generate a surplus of about $20m.

Last month Abano got an unsolicited approach from an unidentified international hearing device maker to buy Bay International. It triggered Mr Hutson's pre-emptive rights under Bay's shareholder agreement.

Because Mr Hutson is a related party, a waiver was needed to "enable settlement to be achieved on a timely and cost-effective basis," Abano chairman Trevor Janes said in a statement.

The board liked the offer price and believed it would be better not to go through the shareholder meeting process. It was confident they would support the decision, he said.

In 2013, then Abano director Mr Hutson was part of a hostile and unsuccessful takeover proposal for Abano. He then resigned at the request of the board.

Proceeds from the Bay sale will be used to repay debt and help fund Abano's continued expansion of its Lumino The Dentists network in New Zealand and Maven Dental Group in Australia.

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