Hospital Play

August 17, 2007 (LBO) – Asha Central Hospitals said Friday several parties were negotiating to buy the controlling stake of the firm after its share price more than doubled to 80 rupees over the week. The firm later bought the property in Norris Canal Road with borrowed funds.

More than 80 percent of the company is held by Euroam Management Services Ltd, an entity which is controlled by the family of Dr Neville Fernando, the firm’s managing director.

Asha Central gained 33.75 peaking at 80.00 rupees Friday extending gains made over the week, until trading was halted pending an announcement.

On Monday the share traded as low as 38.00 rupees.

The firm had been chased by punters on speculation that the Stassens group, John Keells Holdings, Softlogic or Hemas was interested in buying it.

Earlier Asha Central advertised for sale its building and land in Horton Place with plans to shift to a new location on Norris Canal Road.

However the latest statement indicates that the Fernando family is planning to exit the hospital firm, traders said.

The book value of the share is 43 rupees as at March 2007. It had 291 perches of land last revalued June 27, 2005.