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Opal's 'fresh thinking' in aged care acquisition

Opal Aged Care (formerly Domain Principal Group) and Stockland yesterday announced an agreement for Opal Aged Care to acquire Stockland's aged care portfolio.
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Opal Aged Care managing director, Gary Barnier, left, with Stephen Bull, Stockland Group executive and chief executive of Retirement Living.

The acquisition signals the start of a longer term partnership through cooperation on future co-located retirement living and aged care sites.

The deal between one of the Australia’s leading aged care providers and the country’s largest diversified property group, will see Opal Aged Care acquire 366 operating beds from Stockland across four sites in New South Wales and Victoria, and a further 92 offline licences assigned to the development of a potential new aged care facility in Winston Hills, New South Wales.

As part of the strategic partnership, the two companies have exchanged contracts for the sale of Stockland’s four aged care facilities to Opal Aged Care for $25.6 million, including $4.5 million of deferred payments. This is below book value at 31 December 2013, reflecting the upcoming demolition and redevelopment of the Cardinal Freeman site.

Gary Barnier, Opal Aged Care managing director, says the aged care provider is in a strong position moving forward.

“This acquisition has given us an opportunity to strengthen our position as a leading specialist aged care provider, and is another example of our exciting future,” Mr Barnier said.

“Domain Principal Group’s recent rebrand to Opal Aged Care and our new partnership with Alzheimer’s Australia supports our vision and represents a new era of aged care.

“Our partnership with Alzheimer’s Australia is the largest educational partnership ever undertaken with an aged care provider and will result in our 5,000 staff being trained in specialist dementia care within the next two years.

“We’re excited to roll out the changes and introduce fresh thinking to the models of aged care in our homes, including these new homes from Stockland,” he said.

According to Stephen Bull, Stockland Group executive and chief executive of Retirement Living, a detailed search was undertaken to find to a well established, high quality operator capable of taking over this area.

“We’ll work with Opal to pursue the development and operation of specialised aged care services where the land and opportunity exists at other sites within our Retirement Living portfolio,” Mr Bull said.

The acquisition will settle in next month, subject to the approval of the Department of Social Services with Opal Aged Care and Stockland working closely to ensure a seamless transition for both residents and staff. All existing resident bond and employee agreements will be transferred to Opal Aged Care without change.

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