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AUB seeks Altius buyers: report

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AUB Group is reportedly moving ahead with plans to sell its Altius rehabilitation and health business, after flagging at the recent results briefing that it would be exploring options regarding its majority holding.

PwC has started early stage discussions on behalf of AUB with potential trade and private equity buyers with existing interests in the area, the Australian Financial Review reported this morning. AUB declined to comment when contacted by insuranceNEWS.com.au.

CEO Mike Emmett told the annual results briefing last month that AUB was pleased with progress made to transform the performance of Altius, and the business had strong momentum entering the current financial year.

“As previously mentioned, we anticipate exploring options regarding our investment in Altius during FY21,” he said.

The move to sell Altius, in which AUB has 56.9% according to the annual report, follows the group’s exit from work health and safety rehabilitation service provider Allied at the start of the fourth quarter.

Majority stakes in Allied and Altius were acquired in 2015 as part of a diversification strategy pursued by previous CEO Mark Searles, who led the group for six years.

Mr Emmett, who took over in March last year has refocused the company on its core broking operations in Australia and New Zealand, rather than seeking to expand through adjacent services.

“We should stick to the pieces that we understand and are good at, and strengthen our capability, strengthen our brand, strengthen our expertise, rather than straying off into other pieces,” he told Insurance News last year.

“Health and rehab, while there may be some overlap, in reality is a different industry, a different way of making money.”

In the year to June 30, health and rehabilitation contributed $4.2 million in pre-tax profit, with the Procare business, which provides diversified services to insurers and insurance broking clients, moved to the Austbrokers division effective July last year.

Australian broking contributed $62.1 million, New Zealand $12.1 million and Australian underwriting agencies $13.6 million.