Ardent Health Services, Nashville, appears poised to become the fourth privately held investor-owned hospital company to make a distribution to its stockholders this year, according to Standard & Poor’s.
Ardent appears set for shareholder payout
S&P said it gave Ardent’s overall corporate credit and two new credit facilities—a $400 million term loan due in 2016 and a $75 million revolving credit facility maturing in 2015—a B rating, or below the lowest investment-grade rating of BBB. The proceeds of the term loan will refinance existing debt and make a payout to Ardent’s owner, the private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe, according to S&P. A spokesman for Ardent could not be reached at deadline.
S&P cited the company’s reliance on Albuquerque for its profits and its lack of geographic diversity, as the rest of its hospitals are located in Tulsa, Okla. It also credited the company with divesting weak-performing hospitals in the Tulsa market and a physician practice group in Albuquerque and cutting contract labor, all contributing to an increase in operating margin of two percentage points between 2007 and 2009.
HCA, Iasis Healthcare and Vanguard Health Systems all announced in January that they would return cash to their investment groups.
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