SYDNEY (Reuters) - Chinese state-owned conglomerate China Resources Group and Australian bank Macquarie Group Ltd plan to buy majority control of GenesisCare Ltd, laying the groundwork for Australia’s biggest cancer and cardiac services provider to expand into the world’s second-largest economy.
In a joint statement on Friday, Hong Kong-based China Resources and Australia’s biggest investment bank said they will buy between 50 percent and 74 percent of GenesisCare, without saying how much they will pay. Private equity giant KKR is selling its 45 percent stake as part of the deal, they said.
A person with direct knowledge of the deal told Reuters the deal gave GenesisCare, which doesn’t disclose annual revenue, an enterprise value of A$1.7 billion ($1.3 billion). The person declined to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss the matter with media.
Subject to both a shareholder vote and approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board, the deal reflects new opportunities being explored by Australian and Chinese companies since a A$100 billion bilateral free trade agreement took effect in December last year.
China Resources and Macquarie said Sydney-based GenesisCare’s doctors and managers, who currently own 55 percent of the company, will keep between 26 percent and half of the company, depending on how shareholders vote on the proposed buyout.
“GenesisCare... has developed a world class model for cancer and cardiac care that we will help introduce to China and take around the world,” China Resources Deputy General Manager Kerry Zhang said in the statement. As the country’s economy grows, China’s aging healthcare infrastructure is creaking under the strain, fuelling demand for new services.
The deal comes as GenesisCare, founded in the early 2000s, expands in several geographic directions. Now the biggest private cancer services provider in Britain and Spain, GenesisCare says it treats more than 2,500 patients a day in more than 150 locations across those three countries, with more than 2,000 medical and management staff.
The sale may, however, run into political opposition in Australia as it awaits clearance from the Foreign Investment Review Board.
A general election earlier this month resulted in a small group of anti-globalization independent lawmakers securing an influential role in Senate decision-making. While the Australian upper house cannot block takeovers, the government is under pressure to retain the support of independents to pass other legislation.
Reporting by Byron Kaye; Additional reporting by Sonali Paul in MELBOURNE; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell