NorthWest Healthcare seek full control of Aus Unit Trust

24 February 2021

NorthWest Healthcare Properties has secured a strong position ahead of a takeover bid for for the Australian Unity Healthcare Property Trust.

Candaian based NorthWest advised that it had secured a stake of about 16 per cent in the $2.4bn Healthcare Property Trust via option agreements with Hume Partners.

The unlisted trust comprises 62 hospital, medical centres and other healthcare assets leased to 169 Australian healthcare operators with a WALE of 15.9 years.

Australian Unity announced that it had received an offer from NorthWest Healthcare Properties to acquire 100% of the units in the Trust under a scheme of arrangement to be presented to unitholders at a price of $2.20per unit.

The offer price represents an 11% premium to the December year end book value of $1.98.

The board of AUFM will assess the proposal and determine whether it is in the interests of AUHPT unitholders to engage with North West.

In order to maximise value for unitholders, Australian Unity have since revalued 56% of the properties in the Trust, resulting in an increase of $114m or 10.6% in value of those assets.

The increase in valuations will likely cause NorthWest to consider an improved offer.

If successful, NorthWest could become the dominant owner of Healthcare Real Estate in Australia following its earlier takeover of part of Healthscope and all of Generation Healthcare (previously controlled by APN). Northwest has the backing of GIC and has grown its funds under management in Australia to $4.4bn.

With such a significant capital base and a 16% stake in the trust, it is hard to see Australian Unity being able to hold on to the Trust. Much will depend on its other significant unitholders.

Australian Unity will now seek to bring other bidders into the fray in order to maximise the offer for unitholders. Other major participants in the market include Dexus, Centuria and Charter Hall.

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