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Lifecare float on the cards

THE physiotherapy market is set to boom over the next fifteen years if predictions by Perth physiotherapy group Lifecare prove true.

According to Lifecare’s recently released prospectus, physiotherapy services demand will grow by 29.6 per cent between 1994 and 2014.

It is believed the national market is currently worth $569 million. Lifecare, Australia’s largest physiotherapy service provider, has 1.5 per cent.

In Perth, the company has captured about 25 per cent of the market.

Senior Lifecare physiotherapist Cameron Tweedie said the company’s expansion would help consolidate the physiotherapy industry.

“Physiotherapy is still a cottage industry,” Mr Tweedie said.

The company hopes to raise $8.5 million by offering thirty-four million 25 cent shares to the public.

Lifecare managing director, Richard Bevan said money raised in the float would be used to acquire more practices in Sydney and Melbourne where the market is larger.

The company currently has three centres in New South Wales and twenty-four in WA.

Mr Bevan said by the end of the current financial year the company hoped to have about fifty practices.

By the end of next year this is expected to grow to eighty.

The new focus will means some managerial staff, including Mr Bevan, will relocate east.

The company expects revenue of $5.6 million this year. Next year’s revenue is forecast to be 15.5 million with earnings before interest and tax forecast to be $648,000.

In 2000-01 the EBIT is expected to increase to $2.4 million.

About 56 per cent of the company will stay in the hands of founder Denis Boyd, his son and Sonic Health chairman Michael Boyd and Mr Bevan.

Mr Boyd started the business in 1968, changing its name to Lifecare in 1985.

In 1995 Lifecare opened its first franchise and on 30 July the group was incorporated.

Mr Bevan said the issue had already created strong interest with a substantial amount going to staff.

“We are confident we will get the offer opened and closed in a very short time,” he said.

Mr Bevan said he expected the company to list on the Perth stock exchange in the first week of December.

Lifecare’s public offer opens on 15 November and will be underwritten by Patterson Ord Minnett, with Brisbane’s Wilson HTM the broker.

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