W.R. Grace & Co. reportedly has received another bid for its National Medical Care division.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal said three investment banking groups put together a proposal to combine the highly profitable dialysis and home infusion unit with its largest competitor, Vivra.
Boca Raton, Fla.-based National Medical is the nation's largest manufacturer and operator of outpatient kidney dialysis equipment and services. It had annual revenues of $1.9 billion and pretax operating income of $249 million in 1994. Vivra, based in Burlingame, Calif., has revenues of about $300 million.
The three investment banks are Bain Capital in Boston, Hellman Friedman in San Francisco and Texas Pacific Group in Fort Worth.
Grace management, which said in May it intends to divest the medical division within two months, is considering two other proposals for the unit. The first, from Constantine L. Hampers, National Medical's founder and chief executive officer, would pay $3.5 billion to take it over. Grace executives have said the price should be higher.
The second idea is a spinoff to stockholders. A spinoff has the advantage of being tax-free. If Grace sold the division outright, it would face a huge capital gains tax liability on the considerable appreciation in National Medical's value since Grace bought it in the 1980s.
Grace officials declined to discuss the proposals other than to say that they were considering "a number of alternatives" concerning National Medical. Company spokeswoman Mary Lou Kromer said Grace intends to make a decision within 30 days.
In another development, Grace's former audit chief was quoted in a Bloomberg Business News report as charging that the company set up a reserve account to avoid paying income taxes owed by National Medical. The allegations appeared in an age-discrimination suit filed by Norman Eatough, 61, who was dismissed last year.
Kromer was quoted in the Bloomberg report as saying Eatough's allegations are "without merit."