Listed pathology player Healius, which has had competitor Australian Clinical Labs on its tail since March, is preparing to launch an equity raising to shore up its balance sheet, Street Talk understands.
Healius CEO Maxine Jaquet.
Sources said Healius has tapped Barrenjoey to put together the equity injection to comfort lenders with whom it is renegotiating covenants. The stock went into a trading halt before market open, with the company saying it needed time to finalise “debt financing and related capital structure initiatives”.
It is understood the company is seeking to raise between $180 million and $200 million. The shares are expected to be offered at more than a 30 per cent discount to the last close of $1.84.
Healius is advised by Gresham Partners, whose bankers have been on hand for its defence against ACL’s takeover bid. ACL, whose largest shareholder is healthcare-focused private equity firm Crescent Capital Partners with 30.1 per cent, offered 0.74 ACL shares for every 1 Healius share but was given the cold shoulder. The bidder has extended the offer several times, and the current version is open for acceptances until late February.
Meanwhile, Healius has struggled with its debt load. It ended the 2023 financial year with $447 million in net debt (which translated to $62.3 million in interest payments, up 27.1 per cent). The company also wrote down $349.8 million of goodwill and killed the final dividend.
It had $562.1 million in bank loans and $115.3 million cash at June 30. Its bank gearing ratio sat at 3.48-times, compared to the 3.5-times limit set by the covenants. Healius was able to convince lenders to raise the ratio to 4-times until the end of December.
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