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Abano says units perform strongly, reiterates profit forecast

Thursday 10th July 2008

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Abano Healthcare Group, which has emerged from two takeover attempts the past 12 months, says its units are performing strongly and the company will meet its forecast for a record profit this year.

The owner of specialist medical clinics is to post full-year earnings later this month. In March it forecast an annual profit of NZ$7.9 million and chief executive Alan Clarke said he stands by the prediction.

"We're happy with the numbers," Clarke told BusinessWire in an interview. "Abano's core financial performance remains strong with pleasing improvements in all businesses over the previous year."

Abano has outperformed the NZX 50 Index in the past 12 months, gaining more than a fifth while the index sunk about 25%. Two suitors, the Stewart family's Masthead Portfolios and Crescent Capital Partners, have sought to control Abano in the past year, driving the stock price to more than NZ$5.10.

Directors of Abano didn't recommend Crescent's NZ$5.20-a-share offer, which was at the low end of a NZ$5.20-to-NZ$5.80 range from independent valuers KordaMentha. Crescent now owns 19.9% of Abano after failing to reach its takeover target.

The company acquired 70% of an Australian dental practice with plans to expand in Queensland state, it said in June. The new addition would contribute A$15 million to annual revenue and stoke profit this year, Abano said last month.

Abano stock was recently unchanged at NZ$4.49 and has jumped about 32% in the past 10 months.

By Jonathan Underhill

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