Market Report: Abu Dhabi’s VPS joins £1.4 billion bid war for Al Noor Hospitals

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A third suitor has entered the bidding battle for FTSE 250 group, Al Noor Hospitals.

Fellow Abu Dhabi-based VPS Healthcare is the latest private healthcare group to join the fray — pitting itself against another FTSE 250 constituent NMC Health and South Africa’s Mediclinic, both of which have operations in the UAE.

The news boosted Al Noor by 29p to 1194p, more than double the 575p it floated at two years ago, and spurred NMC on 23.5p to 793.5p.

Al Noor gave Mediclinic’s 1160p, £1.36 billion  offer the thumbs-up last week but, with no sign of its rivals giving up the chase, its position as front-runner could be under threat, as shown by a fall in its shares in Johannesburg.

Al Noor is still thought to prefer a tie-up with Mediclinic thanks to its exposure to Switzerland, as well as the UK through its stake in Spire Healthcare, which rose 2.2p to 382.7p. 

A deal with any of the suitors would make it the UAE’s largest private healthcare provider in a market that is growing rapidly.

On the wider market, the FTSE 100 remained in the red — down 27.44 points at 6324.89 — as doom and gloom about China hit mining again.

Anglo-Aussie iron ore giant BHP Billiton was the heaviest blue-chip faller, off 26.5p to 1069.5p ahead of tomorrow’s third-quarter operational update.

InterContinental Hotels surged to the top of the Footsie, up 108p or 4.7% to 2419p, after a 4.8% increase in revenue per room across its properties.

The owner of the Crowne Plaza brand told the Evening Standard that the Rugby World Cup boosted occupancy in its London hotels to around 90% for the three months to September 30.


Aveva picked up 89p to 2097p as Berenberg upgraded the engineering software group to a Buy and raised its target price to 2450p.

Bullish remarks from Barclays analysts couldn’t prevent Tullow Oil from falling 10.8p to 217.9p.

They said the oil firm’s shares, which have risen 35% this month, could have “further to go”.

An encouraging nine-month update helped publishing and events group Informa up 2.5p to 585p, building on yesterday’s 4.5p rise.

Elsewhere, oil firm Genel Energy slid 14.25p or 4.3% to 321p after it cut annual production guidance by 5000 to 10,000 barrels per day to between 85,000 and 90,000, which it warned could cost $25 million (£16 million).

But any share fall was cushioned by a separate announcement that the firm — run by former BP boss Tony Hayward — received a $16.5 million cheque from the Kurdistan government for oil exports.

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October 20, 2015 |
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