Thursday, 18 April, 2024

01 Dec 2002 | Australasian Dental Practice

news > Spectrum > Page 12

Lab conglomerate launches

Pearl Healthcare Ltd (ASX:PHL), a national network of dental laboratories, has listed on the Australian Stock Exchange after closing its Initial Public Offer (IPO) of 64 million shares at $0.25 each fully subscribed.

Managing Director, Herb Zimmer, said that investor sentiment was encouraging in a difficult financial market and the float was well supported with a strong institutional take-up. "The response to our prospectus capital raising was pleasing with the Offer closing fully subscribed. The funds will be used to pay the cash component for the acquisition of 22 dental laboratories Australia-wide that make up the Pearl network, and to provide working capital and funds for further acquisitions.

"The consolidation will give Pearl about 15% market share, approximately ten times that of the next largest dental lab operator," he said.

Addressing the company's first AGM, Mr Zimmer stressed that dental labs are local businesses, dependent on a close relationship between the laboratory and their customers, the dentists and their patients.

"We value and respect this relationship. Apart from the ability to offer a greater range of services, there will be no material change to the relationship I have referred to."

Mr Zimmer also announced at the AGM that the company had failed to settle with one of the 23 labs it initially approached to acquire.

"We were not able to settle the Pyolip lab because of the extreme ill health of the owner, Felix Schmid. We wish him all the best - hopefully, a speedy recovery. This lab was small and will not impact on our prospectus forecasts," he said.

The other labs now part of Pearl Healthcare Ltd are Buckley & Hutton, Burwood Rd Dental, Cambridge Dental Laboratories, Canberra Dental, Ceramica, Classic Dental, Dental Art Studio, Dental Artisans, Dental Services, Lodge & Looney, Majestic Dental Ceramics, Port Dental, Precision Gold and Ceramics, Premach Dental, Shehade Dental Ceramics, Southern Ceramics, Space Maintainers (Vic & NSW), Ticonium Dental Castings, Vital Ceramics, Westside Ceramics and Windgate.

At time of going to press, the company was trading at $0.19 per share.

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