SYDNEY, May 13 (Reuters) - China's Fosun Group is interested in Australia's Healthscope, hoping to extend the private hospital operator's model to the growing Chinese market, the Australian Financial Review reported on Tuesday.
Patrick Zhong, head of global investments at Fosun, told the newspaper that the company saw a great opportunity for Healthscope to develop in China.
"Healthscope is a pretty large company, but think about if they had the same position in China (as in Australia)," Zhong said, as quoted by the paper. "The counterpart of Healthscope would be huge - 10 times larger potentially. This is the opportunity."
Healthscope's private equity owners - TPG and Carlyle Group - are currently inviting bidders for a trade sale of the business they bought for A$2.6 billion ($2.43 billion) in 2010. But they are also considering an initial public offering and the spinoff of the company's property assets.
Analysts expect a sale of the company, which owns 44 private hospitals in Australia and pathology operations in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand, to garner about A$4 billion ($3.74 billion).
HCA Holdings Inc is also among the bidders for Healthscope, Australian media reported in April.
"Healthscope is really interested in China," Zhong said, without elaborating on the current bidding process. "They see this as a possible avenue for growth for them in the future."
Healthscope reported A$328 million in operating earnings before finance costs, income tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the year ending June 2013. ($1 = 1.0685 Australian Dollars) (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Ken Wills)