Lazard, Credit Agricole advise Ramsay on French deal

Ramsay has hired Lazard, the first time it has hired the investment bank, to help it acquire Generale de Sante, a French health care provider.

Lazard and Credit Agricole are advising Ramsay Health Care on its 539 million euro takeover of Generale de Sante, which has 75 health care facilities and centres in France, Data Room has discovered.

It is potentially the second-largest acquisition in more than 14 years by Sydney-based Ramsay. It's biggest acquisition since 2000 remains the $US1.1 billion purchase of Affinity Health, according to Bloomberg data.

Ramsay’s stake in Generale de Sante will be as large as 57 per cent and the company says it may pay as much as 539m euro for the a stake, financed through a sale of company debt. Credit Agricole Assurances will be the other major shareholder in Generale de Sante.

Generale de Sante’s current owners have given Ramsay until June 6 to close the deal.

Ramsay has completed 20 acquisitions since January 1, 2000 worth $US2.8bn, according to Bloomberg data. The Generale de Sante deal is the first time Ramsay has used Lazard whose Paris office remains a formidable force in advising on mergers and acquisitions in France.

Ramsay has used Citigroup and Ernst & Young as M&A advisers on three occasions. Gresham Advisory Partners, Rothschild and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have advised Ramsay on two occasions.  

Last month in a research report, Credit Suisse analysts predicted Ramsay would seek to acquire Generale de Sante in order to increase the company’s size in a market where it is currently “sub scale.”

Generale de Sante has annual revenue of  around 1.7bn euros, according to Ramsay, and 19,000 employees including 7,000 nurses and 4,000 care staff.

(Reporting by brett.cole@businessspectator.com.au)

(Editing by miranda.maxwell@businessspectator.com.au)