MELBOURNE, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Australian buyout firm Quadrant Private Equity is actively considering an initial public offering of its Virtus Health in vitro fertilisation business, the largest IVF group in the Asia-Pacific region, it said on Monday.
A share sale, which could be worth around A$500 million ($520 million) according to local press reports, is possible around mid-year, Quadrant director Marcus Darville said.
“Virtus is the largest player in its sector and it is a natural IPO candidate,” Darville told Reuters.
“There is a lot of investor interest in healthcare stocks, and the market background is becoming more positive again,” he said.
Darville said Quadrant was close to picking an adviser to consider sale options.
Australia has seen few new floats in recent years as volatile markets have kept investors wary, and as a result private equity firms have increasingly looked for trade buyers for their businesses.
The last private equity-backed IPO was fast food group Collins Foods Ltd in August 2011, which has never traded at its offer price of A$2.48 per share and was at A$1.57 on Monday.
Quadrant became the major shareholder in Virtus five years ago, made bolt-on acquisitions and refinanced A$225 million in debt last September. (Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)