Believe it or not but Mayne, that serial underperformer, is now thinking of a demerger of its health care and pharmaceutical businesses. Will wonders never cease?

Two years ago, Mayne went through this sort of rigmarole and concluded that it should sell its private hospitals. That was after the doctors revolted at the heavy-handed tactics of Mayne, driven by former CEO Peter Smedley.

They were flicked to Affinity, which is now on-selling them to Ramsay Healthcare. And in the process the value of the hospitals has almost doubled to more than $1.4 billion. Mayne shareholders missed out on around $600 million of that.

Now according to a statement to the ASX today, reported here in The SMH, yet another split is being considered. As we’ve reported before, Mayne CEO Stuart James was Smedley’s underling and should not still be running the much-diminished company.

Still, the market loves the latest demerger idea as Mayne shares rocketed 53c to $4.06 this morning, although this is still well below the high of $4.90 reached earlier this year.

Peter Fray

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