5 February 2010 - Sonic Healthcare (“Sonic”, SHL.AX) is pleased to announce that it will acquire 100% of the Medhold Group (“Medhold”), based in Antwerp, Belgium.
Medhold is a leading laboratory group in Belgium, having participated in the early consolidation of the Belgian laboratory market in recent years. Founded in 1980, the group has established an outstanding reputation for medical quality and service excellence in all areas of routine and esoteric testing, including anatomical pathology. Sonic will acquire Medhold from its founders and joint CEOs, Annie Vereecken and Geert Salembier, as well as from Waterland Private Equity who have been co- shareholders since 2007. Annie Vereecken and Geert Salembier have deep and long-standing laboratory-based backgrounds and will continue to lead Medhold into the future.
The Medhold Group employs over 300 staff and operates from a new, purpose-built, state-of-the-art reference laboratory in Antwerp. Four additional smaller laboratories service regional areas in northern Belgium, as well as the Brussels metropolitan area. Medhold also services hospitals and other referral sources in the Netherlands out of the nearby Antwerp laboratory facility. With a combined population of approximately 27 million, Belgium and the Netherlands ideally suit Sonic's criteria for growth in stable and reliable laboratory markets within Sonic’s core regions of Western Europe, Australia and North America.
The purchase price for Medhold is based on an enterprise value of EUR 232 million and represents an EBITDA multiple of approximately 8.4 times before synergies. The acquisition will be immediately earnings per share accretive and will be funded from existing cash and debt facilities. Settlement is conditional upon a small number of closing conditions and is expected to take place within two weeks.
Sonic Healthcare’s CEO and Managing Director Dr Colin Goldschmidt said: “Sonic's entry into the Belgian and Dutch markets represents an important extension of our European laboratory strategy and further strengthens Sonic's position as the clear leader in European laboratory medicine. This acquisition presents us with new opportunities for additional growth and synergy capture in markets that suit our operations. We are proud and honoured to partner with an outstanding group such as Medhold, which is led by such an experienced and highly regarded management team, and which has such remarkably similar culture and values to Sonic. We are particularly pleased that joint CEOs Annie Vereecken and Geert Salembier will continue to lead Medhold, together with their talented management team. I wish to take this opportunity to warmly welcome all Medhold pathologists, management and staff to Sonic Healthcare’s world-wide team of people.”