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Recently, DaVita® – the dialysis division of DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. (DVA - Analyst Report) – acquired a majority ownership in Columbia-based Esensa S.A.S. This marks the company’s first venture into Latin America.

Through this acquisition, DaVita has become the majority owner of 7 clinics in Bogota, Cali, Medellin and Barranquilla. These clinics have a client base of about 1,500 patients.

Esensa is the largest independent renal services provider in Colombia. Its association with DaVita through this agreement is expected to enhance the quality of health care services provided to patients and help to improve the Columbian health system.

Following this foray into Latin America, DaVita intends to expand its operations in these cities and penetrate other Columbian cities as well through Esensa. The companies will focus on maintaining the service quality for which Esensa is renowned.

DaVita is slowly expanding in the international markets. In Jan 2013, it acquired 5 dialysis centers in Portugal and 4 in Poland from rival Fresenius Medical Care. In the same month, the company also entered Taiwan through a joint venture with Riches Healthcare to form DaVita Taiwan. Additionally, in Dec 2012, it acquired one and opened two dialysis centers in Malaysia.

Over the past year, DaVita has expanded its global reach through significant acquisitions and alliances in the rapidly developing economies of Saudi Arabia, China, India and Germany, among others. The company also seeks to expand its presence in Europe and has been looking for acquisition and partnership opportunities in all major European and Asian countries.

DaVita currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other healthcare companies worth considering are Addus HomeCare Corporation (ADUS) – Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), HealthSouth Corp. (HLS) – Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), and LCA-Vision Inc. (LCAV) – Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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