Mater Private’s €300m debt refinancing led by Macquarie

Hospital group’s majority owner moved recently to pull sale to focus on refinancing

The owners of the Mater Private hospital, who recently pulled a sale of the business for the second time in 14 months, have secured a €300 million refinancing deal led by Australian bank Macquarie.

The Sydney-based bank’s Macquarie Lending unit in London said it acted as lead arranger and finance partner for the hospital group. The transaction will refinance the Mater Private’s existing debt and includes a “tailored” capital expenditure facility to support growth and development of the hospital, it said.

The Irish Times reported last month that the hospital's majority owner, CapVest, a London-based venture capital firm led by Irishman Seamus Fitzpatrick, decided to put a sale of the business on ice and refinance its loans.

CapVest, which owns a 51 per cent stake in the company, came close to selling its interest to German publicly-quoted healthcare giant Fresenius in April at a price tag of about €500 million.


Strategy grounds

Although it is believed that the management team of Fresenius, which is based near Frankfurt, was keen to execute a deal, it was overruled by the company’s board on strategy grounds. Such an acquisition would have marked the first foray by the group’s hospital operator unit, Fresenius Helios, outside its domestic market.

Macquarie had been linked by reports to the bidding process for the Mater Private earlier in the year. Others known to have been circling the sale process included AMP Capital, another Australian investment firm, and Irish-American private equity fund Carlyle Cardinal Ireland.


Andrew Honan, senior managing director for Macquarie Lending Europe, said: "The Mater Private hospital is a key part of the Irish healthcare system, with a world-class reputation for outstanding clinical care and state of the art facilities. We structured the transaction to specifically address the requirements of the Mater Private hospital and the nature of the underlying private healthcare business."

AIB was the main financial backer of CapVest's purchase of a controlling stake in the Mater Private in 2007, which valued the business at €350 million. The remainder is in the hands of management and staff.

The decision in July to put a sale of the hospital group on ice came about 14 months after CapVest's talks to sell the business to Netcare, a South African healthcare company, fell through after the sides failed to agree on price.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times