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Assura makes £120m landgrab in GP property market

By Gareth Iacobucci

GP property giant Assura is set to strengthen its grip on the primary care market after tabling a takeover bid for the property partner of rival firm Ashley House.

The board of Ashley House has announced that Assura Group, whose GP provider arm was recently acquired by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Healthcare, is in talks with its property investment company AH Medical Properties (AHMP) regarding a potential takeover.

The move would see Assura taking on £120m worth of medical centres, GP surgeries and on-site pharmacies currently owned by AHMP. This would add to Assura's existing £300m primary care property portfolio, which includes 117 investment properties, investments in six LIFT companies and 32 pharmacies.

Ashley House said the move, which is subject to a due diligence process, would ‘significantly improve' the company's financial position.

A company statement said: ‘The board is aware that should the due diligence process lead to a duly accepted offer for AHMP from Assura, it will significantly improve the company's working capital position via the payment of both performance and design fees and, in Assura, provide it with a new, larger development partner securing the company's funding ability for the foreseeable future.

‘The board is actively considering alternative arrangements to ensure the continued funding for its large pipeline of projects should an acquisition of AHMP not proceed.'

Ashley House also revealed it was undertaking a detailed review of the income it has accrued on all its property schemes in light of the Government's structural reforms to the NHS, which it said: ‘has resulted in a number of requests to change the scope of schemes that have yet to reach site rather than to cancel them.'

It added: ‘On schemes that are affected, the company is likely to see some of its accrued income paid and some carried forward to revised schemes.'