Cinven plans French hospital sale

Candover, Eurazeo and a handful of trade buyers are preparing bids for Cinven’s remaining stake in Générale de Santé, France’s largest private hospital group.

UK private equity house Cinven is planning to sell its interest in Générale de Santé in a deal that could value the Paris-listed company at E800m including debt.


Cinven owns an 18 per cent stake in the GdS, France’s largest private hospital group, via its 44 per cent interest in Santé Luxembourg. It retained its stake following the GdP’s IPO in June 2001, which valued the business at E792m. It is currently capitalised at E379m.


Veolia Environment (formerly Vivendi Environnement), ABN Amro Capital France and Eurazeo are the other main investors in Santé Luxembourg, which owns 38 per cent of Générale de Santé. Veolia Environment has a 20 per cent stake.


Cinven is planning to sell its stake at the end of June, when a lock-up agreement ends. A number of groups, including financial buyers Candover and Eurazeo, which currently has a three per cent stake in the business, and trade buyers including Swedish healthcare group Capio and German group Rhön-Klinikum, have made first round offers.


Last month, GdS, which reported revenues of E1.2bn in 2002, appointed NM Rothschild, Citigroup and Credit Lyonnais to explore options for the group, including a possible full offer for the company.


Cinven acquired the UK and French hospital and healthcare interests of French utility group Compagnie Générale des Eaux, now renamed Vivendi, in July 1997 for E1.7bn.


The acquisition comprised two businesses: Compagnie Générale de Santé, the leading private hospital group in France, and General Healthcare Group, the UK’s second largest private hospital and healthcare provider.


The two businesses were acquired simultaneously from Vivendi but Cinven opted to run the businesses separately. Cinven merged portfolio company Amicus Healthcare, acquired in 1995 in a E312m buyout from Compass, with General Healthcare Group. The merger was completed at the end of 1997. The combined entity of Amicus and General Healthcare had 42 acute care hospitals and ten psychiatric hospitals. In September 2000 the company was sold to BC Partners for E2.1bn.