Australia’s nurses and allied health workers superannuation fund, HESTA, has revealed being part of a consortium led by KKR in a A$20.1bn (€13.8 bn) bid to take over Ramsay Health Care.

Ramsay, the Australian-based global private hospital owner-operator, yesterday confirmed that the KKR-led consortium had begun discussions with its board to buy the ASX-listed company by way of a scheme of arrangement.

HESTA CEO, Debby Blakey, said: “We believe this investment has the potential to have a positive impact on patient health and wellbeing in Australia and abroad while helping generate strong returns for our members.”

Blakey said the initiative with KKR continued the industry fund’s strong focus on investing in healthcare, one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Australian economy.

Market observers described HESTA’s participation as a key strategic move by KKR to strengthen the non-binding offer to buy out Ramsay Health Care.

With A$68bn HESTA onboard, they said it would soften potential criticism from the nurses’ union, which had previously attacked private equity ownership of hospitals.

These observers also noted that Brett Holmes, a key executive in both the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (NSW Branch) and the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, sits on the HESTA board.

If the bid succeeds, HESTA’s 900,000 members – almost a third of whom work directly in healthcare – will become part-owners of Ramsay Health Care.

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