Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Columbia/HCA Finishes Spinoff of Hospitals

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Columbia/HCA Finishes Spinoff of Hospitals

Article excerpt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Columbia/HCA Healthcare completed its spinoff of 61 hospitals into two new publicly traded companies Tuesday, the latest step in an overhaul prompted by a 2-year-old federal fraud investigation.

The spinoffs netted the nation's biggest hospital chain about $900 million and left Columbia with 236 hospitals, down from a high of 345 in 1997. The firm retained its Oklahoma City holdings, Presbyterian Hospital, University Hospital, Children's Hospital, Edmond Medical Center and Seminole Medical Center.

Columbia shareholders on Tuesday received one share in the two independent companies for every 19 shares of Columbia stock held on April 30. The new companies are Nashville-based Lifepoint Hospitals, which owns mostly rural hospitals, and Dallas-based Triad Hospitals, which will operate mainly in medium-sized urban markets. Shares of both companies will begin trading on the Nasdaq stock market today. Even with the spinoffs, Columbia will retain its title as nation's biggest hospital chain and have annual revenues of about $15 billion. But the spinoffs and other recent sales have left a more focused company that will "get more bang for its buck," said Kemp Dolliver of SG Cowen Securities. The spinoffs "will allow management to focus more on its core operations," he said. And the hospitals that were spun off will get more attention and resources from their new management, he said, while continuing to utilize Columbia's data processing services and remaining in its purchasing network. "I am absolutely convinced that this is one instance where one plus one plus one is equal to a whole lot more than three when the dust settles," Columbia Vice President Vic Campbell said. While the spinoff is "not the final step" in the company's restructuring efforts, "it is the last major piece," Campbell said. …

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