I've been reporting on and off for a while that Agfa was trying to sell off its healthcare division. Today, Agfa said, "Not so fast..."
BRUSSELS, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Belgian imaging technology group Agfa-Gevaert (AGFB.BR:Quote,Profile,Research,Stock Buzz) said on Tuesday it planned to keep its healthcare unit together and that its board had not launched a process to sell the operation.
The company referred to a number of media articles in recent weeks stating that Agfa was set to start a formal sales process of healthcare.
"In its regular meeting of today, September 9, 2008, the board of directors has taken note of the confusion created by this misleading information and therefore has decided to set the record straight," Agfa said in a statement.
Belgian daily De Standaard for example reported last Friday that Agfa was taking steps to sell the unit by the end of this year, driving Agfa shares up by some 5 percent.
"The board confirms that no decision has been taken to launch a process for the sale of the healthcare business group," Agfa said, adding its priority was to improve operational efficiency.
"The board confirms its commitment to the preservation of the unity of the healthcare business group, to its strategy and to the investments made for extending its leading position in healthcare IT," it continued.
Agfa, which specialises in imaging systems, IT and top-end printers for publishers and newspapers, had planned last year to split into three separately listed companies -- Agfa Graphics, Agfa Health Care and Agfa Materials.
It scrapped the plan after disappointing first-quarter results, saying the move was no longer viable. . .
Analysts believe healthcare is the unit Agfa would most likely spin off or sell, although the company first needs to address problems there.
I stand ready to help address those problems if called upon to do so.