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GIC said to seek up to US$980m stake in Brazil's Rede D'Or

[SAO PAULO] GIC Pte, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, is in talks to buy a stake worth up to 3 billion reais (S$1.3 billion) in Brazilian medical-care provider Rede D'Or Sao Luiz SA, people with knowledge of the matter said.

GIC may acquire as much as 14 per cent of the hospital operator, in equal shares from the company's founding Moll family and Grupo BTG Pactual, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. GIC could announce a deal for the stake within a month, the people said.

Founded as a health-diagnostics laboratory in 1977 by cardiologist Jorge Moll, Rede D'Or is now one of the country's biggest hospital operators with 4,500 beds across more than 27 locations. GIC would follow Carlyle Group LP in buying a stake in the company. Carlyle paid about 1.75 billion reais for 8.3 per cent of Rede D'Or, a person with knowledge of the matter said last month.

Spokesmen for GIC, BTG Pactual, Rede D'Or and the Moll family declined to comment.

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Private-equity firms and sovereign wealth funds are looking for hospital investments after a new law allowed foreign ownership of health-care facilities in Latin America's largest economy. The nation is home to tens of millions of would-be patients who joined the country's middle-class when Brazil's economy was booming because of the rise in commodity prices.

Rede D'or's value has surged in the past five years, making Moll a billionaire with an estimated net worth of US$4.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. BTG acquired 25.6 per cent of the company in 2010 for 600 million reais, through convertible bonds, a person with knowledge of the matter said last month. After Carlyle's purchase, BTG's stake stands at almost 24 per cent, while the Moll family maintains control of the company.

Other medical care firms in Brazil are also attracting foreign interest, with funds including KKR & Co, Advent International Corp and Apax Partners all looking for hospital investments.