BERLIN, April 7 (Reuters) - German laboratory services group Synlab said on Wednesday it planned to float on the stock market, offering investors exposure to a coronavirus testing boom and the consolidation of Europe’s fragmented healthcare landscape.
Sources familiar with the matter have said that Synlab, owned by private equity group Cinven, could fetch a valuation of 6 billion euros ($7.1 billion) including debt when it lists in Frankfurt.
Cinven bought Synlab for 1.7 billion euros in 2015 from BC Partners and merged it with France-based Labco, creating Europe’s largest lab services provider handling about 500 million tests a year.
Synlab said it aimed to raise 400 million euros from the offering of newly created shares from a capital increase as well as a secondary component from existing shareholders. The first day of trading is expected in the second quarter.
Although European lab operators, providing standard blood and urine tests as well as other medical and veterinary diagnostics, have been consolidating to cut costs, the industry remains fragmented as reimbursement rules differ across the European Union.
On the back of strong demand for Synlab’s COVID-19 testing capacities, the group said it had 2020 adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of 679 million euros, a 71% increase.
In the first nine months of last year, Synlab reported a 23% jump in core earnings to 415 million euros on revenue of 1.8 billion euros. Its COVID-19 testing volumes spiked to more than 2 million tests per month.
Synlab earlier this year completed a 550 million euro divestment of its analytics & services business, which is focused on environmental testing, to SGS, prompting a ratings upgrade by Fitch.
According to Fitch, about a fifth of Synlab’s sales are COVID-19 related, a positive factor that the ratings agency expects will still be relevant until 2023, albeit likely on a smaller scale.
($1 = 0.8425 euros)
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine, Editing by Thomas Escritt and Shailesh Kuber)