Regional Medical Center Finds New Owner

September 2, 2003 - Updated at: 10:50 p.m. CDT

PLANO, Texas -- Regional Medical Center of Northeast Arkansas will soon be owned by Texas-based Triad Hospitals, Inc.

On Tuesday, company officials announced they've signed an agreement to acquire four hospitals in Arkansas from Tenet Healthcare Corporation of Santa Barbara, California, which currently owns Regional.

Patricia Ball, Vice President of Marketing and Public Affairs, said, "Tenet made an announcement that they were going to divest of some of the Arkansas facilities, and we were one of several companies that expressed some interest in those facilities."

Toby Emerson said this will be the third purchase he's experienced while owning his ambulance service, Emerson ambulance.

"We've never had a break in service; never had any disruption or anything," said Emerson. "Generally they've kept the same personnel or a portion of personnel, so we're familiar with them."

A Tenet official said a search began in March for buyers after company leaders decided owning the facilities was no longer part of their corporate strategy. He said they want hospitals which are currently in larger metropolitan areas.

Triad will acquire the hospitals for $142 million, comprising $134 million in cash and the assumption of $8 million in net current liabilities; Tenet will retain the accounts receivable.

"These hospitals will be a great addition to Triad. They will complement our five existing hospitals in Arkansas, and we expect them to embrace our strategy of working collaboratively with local physicians, employees and communities," said James D. Shelton, Triad Chairman and CEO. Currently, Triad manages hospitals in El Dorado, Hope, Bentonville, Springdale, and Johnson.

Triad expects the four hospitals to generate approximately $250 million in annual revenues in 2003. Triad reiterated its diluted earnings per share guidance of $2.14-2.20 in 2003 and $2.46-2.70 in 2004.

The hospitals to be acquired in the purchase include the 104-bed Regional Medical Center of Northwest Arkansas; the 193-bed Central Arkansas Hospital in Searcy; Hot Springs' National Park Medical Center (166 beds); and Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center of Russellville (170 beds).

Ball added, "Triad's major focus is to work with physicians and to work with representatives of the community to define the hospital services that are needed by that community, and to make sure that we provide the best possible care for that local market."

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2003 and is subject to customary regulatory approvals.