Chinese private equity fund SINO-CEEF is interested in buying Romania’s second-biggest private healthcare chain Regina Maria, which has been put up for sale by the investment fund Mid Europa Partners, daily Ziarul Financiar reported.
Private healthcare providers are becoming highly desirable assets in Romania as the sector has taken off recently, driven by a combination of Romanians’ rising incomes, lack of faith in the scandal-hit state healthcare system and health insurance offered by firms keen to attract and keep good employees in a tightening labour market.
Regina Maria and its bigger rival MedLife have been expanding rapidly in the last couple of years.
Regina Maria was put up for sale in spring this year, with the sale process being managed by Rothschild investment bank and the audit and consulting firm EY.
Back in October, Ziarul Financiar reported that the Italian group Humanitas Net, which operates nine hospitals in Italy, was the leading bidder for Regina Maria. Humanitas Net, as well as Bupa, Monza and several investment funds.
However, discussions with these investors have been fruitless so far, mainly because the price requested by Mid Europa Partners was too high and the growth projections too optimistic compared to buyers’ estimates, the same sources told Ziarul Financiar. Regina Maria is valued at €300mn-400mn, for annual revenues of around €150mn and an operating profit of €25mn, the daily indicated.
SINO-CEEF is reportedly now leading now in the race for the Romanian group, according to sources in the mergers and acquisitions market quoted by Ziarul Financiar.
Regina Maria was founded by cardiologist Wargha Enayati in 1995 and started as a cardiology office under the name Unirea Medical Center, in an apartment on Unirii Square in the Romanian capital.
Enayati sold the majority stake to Advent International investment fund in 2010, and he sold the remaining stake when Mid Europa took over the entire business in 2015.
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