Care UK Plc acquisition of Mercury health

Care UK, one of the UK's leading independent providers of health and social care services, has entered into a conditional contract to acquire Mercury Health from Tribal Group plc.

The acquisition will strengthen and consolidate Care UK’s position as a leading independent sector provider of NHS care and further enhances the company’s growth prospects. The strategies and cultures of Care UK and Mercury Health are strongly aligned and the integration of the two organisations under the Care UK brand will create further strength and depth.

Mercury Health’s existing services will complement the primary care and elective surgery services currently operated directly by Care UK and through Partnership Health Group (“PHG”), Care UK’s joint venture with Life Healthcare of South Africa

Mike Parish, Chief Executive of Care UK, said: “I am delighted that we have reached agreement with Tribal regarding the acquisition of Mercury Health. We believe this is an important step for Care UK that enhances our position as a leading provider of acute and primary care services in partnership with the NHS.

“The introduction of the independent sector to provide clinical care services to NHS patients is has lead to significant growth opportunities across the secondary and primary care sector. Care UK’s experience and capability is now further enhanced by Mercury Health’s management expertise.

Peter Martin, Chief Executive of Mercury Health, said:

“The combination of Mercury Health and Care UK creates a substantial organisation that will have enhanced capability to deliver a wide range of high quality clinical services to NHS patients.

“The acquisition means that Mercury Health has achieved an outcome that provides a robust platform from which to develop a major healthcare delivery business committed to delivering high quality patient care.”

For further information, please contact:

Care UK Plc 01206 752552
Geoff Benn, Group Marketing Director
Chris Rudolph, Marketing Manager


Care UK Plc announces today that it has entered into a conditional contract to acquire Mercury Health from Tribal Group plc. The Acquisition is conditional on approval by Tribal Group’s shareholders, approval from the Department of Health to a change in Mercury Health’s ownership and approval from Mercury Health’s current senior debt syndicate. The Acquisition has been recommended to Tribal shareholders by the Board of Tribal Group Plc.

Care UK, through its Clinical Care division, has already had considerable success in winning contracts and providing services in elective surgery, diagnostics and primary care:

Partnership Health Group (“PHG”), the joint venture with Life Healthcare of South Africa, has won four ISTC contracts representing approximately 15 per cent. of aggregate Wave 1 contract value and in December 2006 was appointed preferred bidder on a Wave 2 ISTC contract in Hampshire;
AMC Diagnostics (“AMC”), the joint venture. with Alliance Medical has been appointed preferred bidder for the North East Regional Diagnostics contract;
Care UK has been appointed preferred bidder for the Manchester Clinical Assessment, Treatment and Support project (“Manchester CATS”);
Care UK directly operates further primary care contracts including walk-in centres, out of hours services, GP services, urgent care centres, diagnostic, clinical, treatment and support services.

Care UK believes that Mercury Health will fit well into its Clinical Care division and will strengthen and consolidate its position as a leading provider within the ISTC market. Whilst Care UK believes that there will be some synergy benefits, the acquisition is expected to bring significant and broad ranging management, bidding and operational experience into the Company, thereby providing additional long term potential for growth.

The Acquisition will also position Care UK as one of the largest independent sector providers to the NHS and provides scale which the Board believes will be increasingly important given the Department of Health’s requirements for providers having depth of management and balance sheet strength.

The Directors of Care UK intend to integrate the Mercury Health business into the existing Care UK Clinical Care division. The combined business will operate under the Care UK brand.

Information on Mercury Health

Mercury Health was established in 2003 as a healthcare delivery business to bid for opportunities presented under the Department of Health’s (“DOH”) ISTC programme.

The ISTC programme, a central procurement of elective surgery and diagnostic services across England, is being awarded in two Waves. All of the contracts under Wave 1 have been awarded, with the award of Wave 2 contracts currently ongoing.

In December 2004, Mercury Health was awarded the South East contract, part of the Wave 1 procurement. Under this contract Mercury Health currently has four operational centres in the South and South-East of England which provide clinical services ranging from minor injury treatment and diagnostic services to day and in-patient surgery, with a further centre expected to open in early 2008. Mercury expects to treat up to 18,500 patients per year under this contract.

Mercury Health has also signed one Wave 2 ISTC contract, the West Midlands diagnostic contract. From June 2007 Mercury Health will be operating 17 mobile centres providing up to 190,000 diagnostic procedures annually including imaging, endoscopy, audiology MRI, X-ray and Ultrasound across a number of sites in the West Midlands.

Mercury Health has been awarded preferred bidder status in respect of a second Wave 2 contract, the Essex contract. Under this contract Mercury Health intends to offer up to 29,000 elective surgery, diagnostic and community based procedures annually.

Mercury Health also has contracts in Primary and Community Care, including the operation of a GP practice and Walk in Centre in Hackney, London.

Care UK website

Mercury Health website

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