Consortium ends Générale de Santé involvement

ABN Amro Capital, Eurazeo and Cinven have disposed of a 33 per cent stake in French private hospital group Générale de Santé following the expiry of a lock-in period.

Santé Luxembourg, an investment vehicle owned by a consortium of European private equity firms, has sold its interest in Générale de Santé (GdS) to Santé Holdings, an Italian healthcare investment company.


The vehicle sold its 39.5 percent stake in French private hospital group Générale de Santé to Italy's Sante Holdings and European investors. Sante Holdings paid E158.5m for a 33 per cent stake.


Santé Holdings is an Italian holding company seeking to hold stakes in the healthcare sector. It is controlled by Antonino Ligresti and financed by a loan from Efibanca. Santé Holdings said it is planning to resell a stake of around eight per cent of the share capital of Générale de Santé to Efibanca.  


The transaction ends private equity interest in the transaction, commenced with the acquisition of Générale de Santé (from Générale des Eaux) in 1997 and followed by the initial public offering of the company in June 2001. At the time of the IPO, the company was valued at E792m, although the disposal to Santé Holdings values the company at under E500m.


Santé Luxembourg was established in 1997 by Cinven and ABN Amro to lead the acquisition of private hospitals from Compagnie Générale des Eaux, the former incarnation of Vivendi Universal. The business was 44 per cent owned by Cinven, with ABN Amro having a 20 per cent stake. Vivendi Universal retained a 20 per cent stake, with Eurazeo also holding a minority stake.


At the time of the IPO of Générale de Santé in June 2001, Santé Luxembourg disclosed the existence of a shareholders’ agreement envisaging that Santé Luxembourg would be wound up on June 30, 2003. Santé Luxembourg commenced an auction process for its residual stake in Générale de Santé in March 2003 to explore all alternatives, advised by Rothschild Paris, Citigroup and Clinvest.