Three months after walking away from a bid to acquire New Zealand retirement village operator Metlifecare, EQT has returned with a new, but lower, bid of NZ$1.28bn (€740m) for the company.

Metlifecare, which is listed on both the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges, said it had received the new NZ$6.00 per share offer from Asia-Pacific Village Group (APVG), an entity owned by EQT Infrastructure IV fund and managed by EQT Fund Management.

This compares with the original bid of NZ$7.00 per share, (or NZ$1.5bn) made late last year but withdrawn in April at the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Swedish private equity group EQT cited uncertainty created by the COVID pandemic for its decision to terminate its offer in April.

Kim Ellis, chairman of Metlifecare, said: “We have always indicated that the board is open to engaging on any reasonable alternative proposal. We welcome receipt of APVG’s non-binding indicative offer and intend to canvass shareholders on whether they prefer this alternative.

“While there remain a number of issues to resolve, and there is no guarantee we will be able to reach agreement, we look forward to productive discussions with APVG.”

Among the revised terms of the proposed new scheme of arrangement are that there will be a cash payment of NZ$6 per share, and that a majority of Metlifecare directors will be required to recommend that shareholders vote in favour of the scheme of arrangement.

Metlifecare said one of its investors, New Zealand Superannuation Fund, which holds almost 20% stake, was broadly supportive of Metlifecare urgently progressing APVG’s offer.

Established in 1994, Metlifecare owns and operates a portfolio of 25 villages located predominantly in New Zealand’s upper North Island.

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