Vital keeping warchest stocked

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 13:20 07/07/2014

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NZX-listed Vital Healthcare Property Trust has increased its bank lending facility to give itself headroom in case new opportunities arise.

The healthcare property fund has renewed its existing banking facilities of A$225 million [NZ$241m] and NZ$20m, and secured an additional A$100m.

The increased facility limit would provide flexibility to allow Vital to continue with its brownfield development strategy and incremental acquisition opportunities as they arose, the firm said in a statement.

Stuart Harrison, chief financial officer of the trust's manager, said the move was motivated by the current competitive debt capital markets and also by the potential of some of its existing sites. One of the properties was Hurstville Private Hospital near Sydney where the company has embarked on an A$28m expansion programme.

"There are other sites that we have potential for it and they will be evaluated at an appropriate time."

Vital, whose portfolio includes 17 hospitals and medical centres in Australia, was named by the Australian Financial Review in May as a potential bidder for assets owned by Australia's second-biggest private hospital operator, Healthscope.

Vital declined to comment at the time.

Its shares remained unchanged at $1.36 this morning.

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