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German hospitals group Sana rules out large mergers
* Sana CEO says large deals complex, offer little synergies
* Says Sana owners would not sell
FRANKFURT, March 18 (Reuters) - A new round of attempted M&A in Germany's private hospital sector is unlikely because such deals are complex and offer limited scope for synergies, the head of one of the main four hospital groups said.
Michael Philippi, chief executive of unlisted Sana Kliniken AG, the fourth-largest private-sector hospitals operator in Germany, said transformative "leaps" were not likely in the foreseeable future.
"Changes are not to be expected for now," he told Reuters.
Last year, rival hospital group Fresenius tried and failed to fully take over Rhoen-Klinikum, after another competitor Asklepios bought a stake that blocked the deal which would have combined the industry's two largest players by sales.
The Fresenius/Rhoen-Klinikum deal attracted a lot of interest from international hedge funds, who placed bets on a renewed bid for Rhoen by Fresenius.
Prior to the Fresenius/Rhoen situation, Sana had considered merging with Rhoen but had abandoned the plans.
Philippi told Reuters large combinations in the hospitals sector were often too complex to handle.
"The question is which large mergers do really work? It's not something that just falls into place."
Synergies were limited because central administrative expenses were relatively insignificant, he said.
He also ruled out a sale of Sana, which is owned by 31 medical insurance groups including units of Allianz and Munich Re.
For them, Sana is a long-term, strategic investment that has become even more attractive amid the low interest rates of alternative low-risk investments, he said.
(Reporting by Andreas Kroener, Frank Siebelt and Ludwig Burger. Editing by Jane Merriman)
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