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Abano mulls offer for Bay International

NZN 26/04/2016 Jonathan Underhill

Abano Healthcare has received an unsolicited approach to buy its 50 per cent stake in audiology company Bay International for almost three times book value.

The listed medical and dental centre investor said the non-binding proposal was from "an international hearing device manufacturer" which it didn't identify.

The other half of Bay International is owned by interests associated with Abano's founder Peter Hutson.

Bay International owns Bay Audio, an audiology retail network in Australia with a smaller footprint in South East Asia.

The indicative consideration is in excess of $30 million, compared with a current book value of $11.9m, Abano said.

"Following consideration of the proposal, Abano will proceed with further discussions with the hearing device manufacturer," it said.

The process was expected to take three to four months and there is no guarantee that a sale will eventuate, Abano said.

In 2013, Mr Hutson and another Abano shareholder, James Reeves, teamed up with Australian private equity firm Archer Capital for a hostile and unsuccessful takeover attempt at Abano.

Abano shares rose 2.6 per cent to $7.90 and have gained 1.6 per cent this year.

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