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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  Euronext Paris  >  LABCO PROMESSES EUR1       FR0012695666

LABCO PROMESSES EUR1

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Synlab ready to snap up more lab chains after debt deal

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11/18/2016 | 11:11am EDT

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Europe's largest lab operator Synlab could extend its lead with acquisitions after wrapping up a debt deal worth close to 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), it said on Friday.

"We are now more prepared than ever to further drive our strategic acquisition course while at the same time growing the company organically," Synlab Chief Executive Bartl Wimmer said in a statement.

The German lab chain - which operates in more than 30, mainly European countries - said it was looking at selective acquisitions in its current and in new markets.

European lab operators, providing standard blood and urine tests as well as other medical and veterinary diagnostic services, have been consolidating to cut costs over recent years, but the industry remains fragmented as healthcare reimbursement rules differ considerably between European Union member states.

Private equity firm Cinven bought Synlab last year in a 1.8 billion euro deal, shortly after it had acquired French medical diagnostics provider Labco for 1.2 billion euros. Wimmer was then put in charge of folding Labco into Synlab.

In Europe, that put the group ahead of its closest rival, Australia's Sonic, which is focusing on fewer national markets in the region.

Synlab earlier this month issued 940 million euros in notes to be traded on the debt market, mainly to replace older notes worth 775 million euro, taking advantage of lower borrowing costs.

Sources close to the matter have told Reuters that private equity groups Apax and Nordic Capital have been gauging prospective buyers' interest in their labs business, Unilabs, while investor PAI Partners is looking into the sale of its French lab testing chain Cerba.

Bankers familiar with the industry said that Cinven-backed Synlab could likely outbid any financial investors because of the costs it could cut across the combined business.

A spokesman for Synlab declined to say which targets the group was looking at.

Spokespeople for Apax, Nordic Capital and PAI declined to comment.

(Additional reporting by Arno Schuetze and Pamela Barbaglia; Editing by Mark Potter and Maria Sheahan)

By Ludwig Burger

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AMP LIMITED -2.41% 1.825 End-of-day quote.-4.70%
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SONIC HEALTHCARE LIMITED 1.56% 31.21 End-of-day quote.8.56%
THE LEAD CO., INC. -1.39% 356 End-of-day quote.-8.72%
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Managers
NameTitle
Andreas Gaddum Chairman
Daniel Bour Independent Director
Erin Elizabeth Gainer Independent Director
Jean-Yves Guedj Independent Director
Anne-France Laclide-Drouin Independent Director