Centene selling off Spanish, Central European businesses under value creation plan

As its value creation plan rolls on, Centene is selling off its businesses in Spain and central Europe to a French hospital operator.

Centene previously announced that it was considering alternatives for its international business arms. Vivalto Santé, the third-largest private hospital company in France, will take ownership of a slate of businesses that includes Ribera Salud, a Spanish healthcare provider, as well as its Pro Diagnostics Group subsidiary, which operates clinics offering radiology and other services in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Also included is Torrejón Salud, a public-private partnership in the community of Madrid that is operated by Ribera Salud, according to the announcement.

"This transaction represents another significant milestone in our value creation plan and ongoing portfolio review," said Sarah London, CEO of Centene, in a statement. "We are pleased to have found a leading European healthcare partner in Vivalto Santé, who we believe is best positioned to drive growth and make additional investments in Ribera Salud, Torrejón, and PDG, so they can continue providing high-quality care for patients across Europe."

Vivalto Santé runs more than 50 private hospitals and is backed by investment firm Vivalto Partners, which is dedicated to the healthcare industry. Over 1,000 doctors are shareholders in the company, leading it to be operated with a shared governance model.

About 35% of its employees are shareholders in the company, according to the announcement.

The transaction is set to close by the end of the year, pending regulatory approvals in Spain and Slovakia. Centene intends to use most of the proceeds to repurchase stock and then apply the balance to pay down debt.

The deal is expected to be neutral to Centene's earnings per share in the year following its closure.