DataRoom AM: Healthy prospects

Reports of a nicely priced bid bode well for Healthscope, while Sterling Education puts its IPO plans on hold.

Healthscope mightn’t have to push so hard on a sharemarket listing with Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare reportedly circling. Sterling Education is delaying its own float plans, but Genesis Energy and 360 Capital are full steam ahead.

Meanwhile in mining, BHP Billiton wants to sell its iron ore assets in Africa, Newmont has sold out of Paladin Energy and a pub owner has the back of Western Desert Resources.

The health industry is still chattering manically about the report from The Wall Street Journal that Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare is considering a run at Healthscope, which could be worth up to $5 billion.

Private equiteers TPG Capital and Carlyle Group currently hold the hospital and pathology business. Leading executives recently flew to Asia to drum up interest for a potential $4bn listing. Reports of a possible $5bn buyout offer don’t do those $4bn pitches any harm at all.

Speaking of listings, Sterling Education has temporarily shelved its $200 million IPO to give the company extra time to examine the books, according to media reports. It’s not known how long the float plan will be delayed for.

Managers for Genesis Energy dropped in on some fund managers in Sydney yesterday with the underwriters of their initial public offering, which is slated to take place before mid-April.

Tony Pitt’s 360 Capital Group commenced its pitch for a $155m bookbuild for the long-awaited float of its office real estate investment trust.

BHP Billiton president of iron ore Jimmy Wilson says the miner’s West African iron ore assets are on the market, telling a conference in Perth they want to “move out” of their West Africa position.

The announcement comes amid a steep plunge in the iron ore price as supply overpowers demand. BHP is also trying to sell its West Australian nickel business, although UBS thinks it may struggle to get $1bn for it because of the business’ potential liabilities.

Still in resources, Newmont Mining has offloaded its 5.4 per cent stake in Paladin Energy, The Australian reports. The newspaper also reports that Gindalbie Metals’ Chinese partner Ansteel is finishing off talks with lenders to win financing to make sure the Karara joint venture doesn’t breach debt covenants.

Western Desert Resources has got its financing from a different source, with pub and pokies kingpin Bruce Mathieson lending crucial support to the company’s $60 million equity issue yesterday. He holds 17.9 per cent of the company.

And finally, The Australian Financial Review reports that former APN News & Media boss Brett Chenowith is coming out of a one-year hiatus to joining a management buyout consortium for part of Funtastic.

Alexander Liddington-Cox is a freelance business journalist based in the Middle East.

Follow @aliddingtoncox on Twitter.

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