BC Partners in healthcare buy and build

UBS has ended a twelve-year association with private hospital group Hirslanden, selling the business to BC Partners for SFr930m.

European buyout firm BC Partners has broadened its activity in the European private healthcare sector with the acquisition of Swiss private healthcare group Hirslanden for  SFr930m (E640m).


Hirslanden, which has been controlled by Swiss banking group UBS since 1990, operates twelve acute-care clinics across Switzerland. BC Partners plans to expand the group’s operations in Europe, merging it with portfolio business General Healthcare Group (GHG).


BC Partners paid £1.29bn (E2bn) to acquire GHG  in 2000  in a deal funded in part by a £975m high yield bond launched in 2001. The UK-based group owns or manages 46 private acute-care hospitals with 2,400 beds, making it the UK’s largest operator and one of the biggest in Europe. GHG also owns 14 hospitals for the treatment of psychiatric disorders, where it is also the leading independent UK provider.  


In a statement, Simon Palley, chairman of General Healthcare Group and managing partner of BC Partners said that the firm plans to back Hirslanden chief executive Robert Bider, 'to support the continuing growth of the company.' UBS said the sale was part of its plan to dispose of non-core businesses. The deal is expected to close before the end of 2002.


BC Partners most recent transaction was a successful exit from Elis, the French textile rentals business, which it sold to PAI Management for E1.5bn in July.  


The acquisition of Zurich-based Hirslanden is part of BC Partners's commitment to buyout opportunities in the Swiss market. The firm recently opened an office in Geneva to track local deal flow, adding to the firm’s presence in Milan, London, Hamburg and Paris.