The many extracts on these pages are from copyright material. They are owned by the reference given or its owner. They are reproduced here for educational purposes and to stimulate public debate about the provision of health and aged care. I consider this to be "fair use" in the common interest. They should not be reproduced for commercial purposes. The material is selective and I have not included denials and explanations. I am not claiming that all of the allegations are true. The intention is to show the general thrust of corporate practices as well as the nature and extent of any allegations made.

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Restrict Mayne

Mayne Nickless, a giant multinational trucking company entered health care in the 1980s. It moved the bulk of its operations to health care after a fraud scandal in trucking in 1994. It grew rapidly to become Australias largest and most dominant diversified health and hospital owner. Poor performance, a scandal, and huge losses in hospitals due to clashes with doctors saw it sell its large hospital portfolio in 2003. It continued as a pharmacology, diagnostic and primary care operator but is breaking up further in 2005.

Australian section     

Access Page - Mayne Nickless
and its subsidiary Health Care of Australia (HCoA)
(1886 to 2005)


A. Explanatory Note

B. The early years 1886 to 1995 : Collusion and Dishonesty

C. The Dalziel and Catchlove Years 1995 to 2000

1. Managed Care and Politicians

2. Mayne Nickless, Government Appointments and Conflicts of interest

3. Privatisations and Colocations

D. The Smedley Era : June 2000 to Nov 2001

1. Hospitals, Care and Other Health Matters

E. Mayne Crashes :The Doctors walk away from Smedley : 2002 - 2003

F. Mayne Sells all its Hospitals

G. Mayne Finally Breaks Up (2004 to 2005)

H. Mayne Diagnostics and General Practice

I. Controlling Mayne Nickless


A. Explanatory Note

Mayne Nickless became Australia's largest and most dominant market listed health care corporation. It had a checkered history. An examination of its policies and conduct provides an excellent insight into the working of the market in Australia including the similarities and differences from the USA. In studying the US system I have concluded that care and profit compete for the same dollar, which is often fixed by the particular funding system.

Three factors are important for financial success and detrimental for care. The first of these is the intensity of the market pressures - the pressures for profit and/or growth - the competitiveness. The second is the nature of the corporate culture and in particularly the personality of the founder or current manager. These two are interrelated as the sort of leaders who succeed build a dysfunctional and sometimes sociopathic culture around them. Because "patients" are unable to act as discerning customers and so restrain and regulate the system market theory breaks down. As a consequence care is often inversely proportional to profit.

The third important factor is control of the medical profession. If money is to be taken from care in order to boost profits then some strategy must be developed to induce the doctors, whose signatures authorise the care from which profits are made, to go along with this.

I have characterised the cultural and personality characteristics as the degree of closed mindedness exhibited. By this I mean the capacity to look past unpalatable information and evidence which challenges corporate belief or actions. All of us use social survival strategies like this to some extent, but some much more than others. Strong pressures in the system will cause many of us to behave in this way and those who do so are often more successful than those who refuse to comply. I have called extreme antisocial behaviour accompanied by disregard for the suffering and misuse of others sociopathic.

The suggestion is that the survival pressures of the market select for people who can look past argument and evidence without experiencing discomfort - a dystocian form of Social Darwinism. I believe that Mayne Nickless illustrates the spectrum of culture and personalities, and the relationship between this and market pressures particularly well. Mayne ultimately failed in health care because its attempts to control doctors failed.

The behaviour which led to the $7.4 million fine in 1994 was in my view frankly sociopathic. On these pages I have supplied information which I hope illuminates the interplay of strong market forces and personality during this period and subsequently. Clearly you should make up your own mind.

When corporations are criticised they attempt to silence their critics and prevent legitimate public debate centred on their practices by commencing costly defamation actions against individuals. - even when they have no prospect of success. Their critics are tied up and paralysed for several years and the considerable costs which the company ultimately pays may be worth while. Documents taken in isolation are used out of context to prolong the process. To prevent this I have quoted extensively from the press and have used the same words as used by my published sources. I have also linked each page to a long list of references with extracts from the original. This makes the pages longer and more cumbersome than I would have liked but safer. My assertions cannot be readily separated from the sources. It also provides a resource for others.

There is a vast amount of worrying information about corporate medicine available and these web pages try to bring most of it together in one place which I believe is valuable. I stress that I am not claiming that the material from these sources is all accurate or the assertions and opinions correct. The welfare of large numbers of vulnerable citizens is an issue and they must be given the benefit of any doubt. The fact that these assertions and opinions have been expressed in publicly available documents on so many occasions is a matter of considerable concern and deserves debate. There is clearly substance to much of it. It is in the public interest that this material be readily available and openly discussed. I believe that the comments I have made are legitimate criticisms.

Please note that this is all copyright material owned by the newspapers quoted or their owners. This is a matter of intense public interest and I believe this is fair use. My comments draw attention to matters which my studies of the US system indicate to me are important issues. Where possible I illustrate this with examples from the USA.

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B. The early years 1886 to 1995
Collusion and Dishonesty

Mayne was founded by Mayne and Nickless as a parcels delivery firm in 1886 but Nickless soon left the business to Mayne. I have not gone into this early period in any detail.

The company became a giant trucking and security business expanding from Australia into North America and Europe. It was one of Australia's most successful multinationals. There is now much evidence that this success may have been built on collusive practices. The information indicates that Mayne formed a cartel with two other groups and used this to fix prices and also undercut and keep competitors out. Customers were disadvantaged. The company had a series of costly and acrimonious run inns with the various regulatory bodies. Mayne executives quite clearly considered their conduct the legitimate way to do business in Australia and could not accept that they were wrong - a feature of sociopathy. They were forced to plead guilty and pay a $7.4 million fine but then loudly protested their innocence and attacked the regulator. This criminal conviction was followed by a number of other actions disclosing dishonest and unpalatable conduct in the company's businesses.

When these collusive practices were stopped Mayne was no longer competitive in transport. Profits fell and it started to sell assets. It parked money in Optus and considered becoming a telecommunications company.

Click Here to go to to the page which describes the early business history of the company.

Click Here to go to an analysis of its collusive and dishonest practices

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C. The Dalziel and Catchlove Years 1995 to 2000

Mayne Nickless had entered health care by investing in Hospitals of Australia (HOA) when it floated in 1986. It increased its share in 1988 and assumed management of the hospitals. In 1991 it purchased the rest of HOA and also bought Hospitals Corp of Australia from Hospital Corp of America. It amalgamated these purchases as Health care of Australia (HCoA). Newly appointed Dr. Barry Catchlove was in charge of this division and it performed well. When the US company Tenet/NME abandoned its Australian venture in 1995, Mayne bought Australian Medical Enterprises. The health care sector was profitable.

The remainder of the company was performing poorly. It sold much of its trucking business which was no longer profitable.

The Managing Director Bill Blytheway had been saddled with the blame for running the price fixing racket. He was fired in 1995. Bob Dalziel, a likable salesman was brought in from Coles Meyer to restructure the company. He consulted extensively with Mayne's major institutional shareholders and with Catchlove. The collective decision was made to sell off large slices of Mayne's poorly performing existing businesses including Optus and turn the company into a giant with two arms - health care and logistics. Health care was to be the prime target and 80% of capital from all sales were earmarked for expansion in health care. Many analysts believed that logistics would be restructured then sold or spun off. Since that time Mayne has centred its aggressive profit ambitions on health care and made this its prime focus. Its public pronouncements and its statements to shareholders revealed its aggressive concentration on profits.

During 1996 Mayne gave its senior staff in the health care chain of command massive incentive bonuses linked to profits. All of this was in breech of assurances I had been given by a Mayne executive in 1995 when I supported their purchase of Australian National Enterprises. Objections to licenses for Mayne were therefore lodged in all states on the basis of its 1994 criminal conviction and its use of incentives linked to profit. State licensing authorities were asked to decide whether hospital license holders should be barred from this practice. Extensive documentation was provided from the USA showing how severely dysfunctional this practice was and the extent to which it had contributed to problems there.

Mayne also adopted the US money making practice of vertical and horizontal integration, calling this "one stop" medicine. It stressed its strong interest in international expansion. It entered Indonesia but its interest in Europe and Canada did not come to anything. This may have been because citizens in these countries were aware of its corporate track record.

Dalziel had considerable difficulty in selling Mayne's 25% stake in Optus but eventually succeeded in doing so in 1998. In the meantime several other businesses had been sold. Mayne expanded by buying into pathology laboratories and into radiology forming a large diagnostics division. It also bought some primary care centres and expanded into Indonesia where it built hospitals.

Mayne chaffed at its difficulty in selling its large holding in Optus as it was eager to continue its health care expansion in Australia and internationally with these funds. It mentioned India as a future market for its services.

Great things were promised and expected from health care and, with the sale of Optus, Mayne was expected to grow its health division rapidly by acquisitions locally and internationally. Dalziel restructured and carefully made plans which the market welcomed. Inexplicably Dalziel then sat on his hands and the company steadily went from bad to worse. Management went into a state of inertia, costs spiraled and profits fell steadily through 1998 and 1999. By 2000 shares which had once been over $8 were trading at under $3. The market was frantic calling for ruthless cost cutting, restructuring and expansion but nothing happened.

There were rumours that Mayne was looking for a buyer for its health care sector. Those interested were believed to include the Malaysian/Singapore group Parkway Holdings. Parkway Holdings, originally a property group bought Tenet/NME's Asian hospitals in 1995 and maintained a close relationship with them. Also tipped to buy was Revesco which had switched from mining to health care. Revesco's public statements suggested that its prime and only interests were profit and growth. Its public statements describing the potential for profits mirrored those made by Mayne Nickless and Alpha Healthcare a few years earlier. At the time it planned to expand rapidly into health care.

There was ongoing talk of takeovers and of dismembering the company. Management was heavily criticised and Dalziel who had been so persuasive was still promising profits but no one believed him. In 2000 both Catchlove and Dalziel departed, replaced by Peter Smedley a man with a reputation for ruthless cost cutting and corporate success.

What happened? My own view is that Catchlove was a doctor who had previously been chairman of the Australian Council for the Accreditation of Hospitals. He and Dalziel had come to understand what the likely consequences of the cost cutting which the market was demanding would be for patients. As a consequence they lost their confidence and their sense of mission. Energy and enthusiasm dried up because they could not bring themselves to do what the market demanded. Management was paralysed.

Click Here for a description and an analysis of the Dalziel years

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1. Managed Care and Politicians

Despite its poor record and criminal convictions Mayne enjoyed strong political support. The minister was making every effort to induce Australian doctors to enter into managed care style contracts even suggesting the banks as a vehicle for this. Mayne developed a close relationship with the minister for Health, Dr. Wooldridge and with AXA, the French insurer which had taken control of National Mutual. Together they made a concerted effort to induce doctors to enter into managed care like contracts in Victoria and Queensland in 1997. In spite of Mayne's track record of subversive dealings to disadvantage customers, and a criminal conviction only 3 years before, these contracts were to be confidential. They offered attractive packages to tempt doctors into breaking ranks. When it was suggested that the contracts were illegal the minister passed legislation through parliament to make them legal.

At the time I prepared a set of press reports and extracts from court documents. Copies were made available to those who were dealing with Mayne Nickless. The bulk of the medical profession stood firm and doctors remained independent. Dr. Wooldridge aggressively attacked the profession and relationships between the minister and doctors reached an all time low when the minister and the president of the AMA traded defamation actions. This independence was to prove vital for the Australian health system 4 years later when doctor's were able to walk away from new CEO Peter Smedley's dangerous policies and effectively break the company.

CLICK HERE -- for a resume of the Mayne Nickless newspaper clippings referred to above

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2. Mayne Nickless, Government Appointments and Conflicts of interest

One of the defining features of the modern marketplace, of Mayne Nickless, and of politicians in the 1990's has been their imperviousness to the sensibilities of others and their willingness to fly in the face of established protective norms and community perceptions of propriety. They define success in terms of outcomes and pay little attention to how those outcomes are attained. They model themselves and society on modern management and adopt the marketplace ethics of modern managers.

In Mayne Nickless we have an organisation pursued and heavily fined by one arm of government for antisocial, dishonest and illegal behaviour detrimental to other citizens - a thoroughly unsavoury group of citizens. At the same time another arm of government, intent on a different set of outcomes has courted this company, given its staff senior government positions, used it as a vehicle for government policy and passed laws to make its activities legal.

Mayne's misdemeanours are ignored by politicians and government regulators. Its success in making money draws praise in our newspapers and adulation from the investor community. It is seen as leading the way in health care - an area where social responsibility, true humanity, and the nuances of our culture are central.

This mind set is well illustrated by the conflicts of interest, which arose in two government appointments of Mayne Nickless staff - Elizabeth Proust and Barry Catchlove. In both instances the government and Mayne staff arrogantly disregarded the concerns about propriety raised in the community - instead asserting their position without confronting the criticisms. Adverse consequences were predictable. Proust saved face by staring down her critics but then wisely got out quickly.

In a highly controversial decision heavily criticised because of the conflict created, Dr. Barry Catchlove the moving force behind Mayne Nickless expansion into health care was appointed by Dr. Wooldridge as chairman of the Health Insurance Commission. The Medical Associations were very critical. This is a very senior position with responsibility for policing and prosecuting fraud and for licensing some health care facilities. It provided access to the minister and other government departments so that policy could be influenced. It made it most unlikely that exposure of corporate fraud and misconduct would occur. To my knowledge at least one whistle blower wisely stopped reporting concerns

Catchlove was less perceptive than Proust and stayed on in the post claiming to take no part in decisions about Mayne Nickless. The chickens came home to roost in the scan scam which eventually forced both Wooldridge and Catchlove out of government and possibly Mayne too.

CLICK HERE -- to examine these conflicts of interest and the way in which they were caught up in the Scan Scam that wasn't - a scam which destroyed Dr. Wooldridge's credibility and ended with Catchlove's resignation.

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3. Privatisations and Colocations

Mayne Nickless and Catchlove were prime movers in the wild enthusiasm to privatise public hospitals and collocate private hospitals on public hospital campuses during the mid 1990's. Catchlove probably did much to sell the ideas to politicians and claim that the private sector could provide public care more cheaply.

He and Dalziel certainly spoke glowingly about the opportunities and persuaded market analysts who became enthusiastic. Private insurance was at an all time low and profits were falling. Dalziel and Catchlove committed the company to these systems and kept the Mayne's share price up by promising great things. In a sense Catchlove and Dalziel nailed their future to these strategies. Mayne Nickless was one of the major players in this and they claimed a 60% success rate in securing contracts with government.

Once politicians and the market had the bit in their mouths no amount of common sense could dissuade them. It required major economic failures, and the failures by corporations to provide expected services to get the message across to both participants.

The privatisation of public facilities created a mass of problems in all the states across Australia. Corporations were burnt by their failure. All states have now abandoned the practice and corporate enthusiasm has vanished. A federal senate inquiry belatedly advised their discontinuance. Smedley subsequently indicated that he did not support this. Hopefully this issue is now dead even among conservative politicians.

Colocations have also proved to be troublesome and often unprofitable. Corporate enthusiasm has cooled. Mayne had difficulty selling both the public and the collocated hospitals to the Citigroup consortium. There have been costly and unpleasant legal disputes.

The failure of privatisation and colocation to generate the promised benefits probably contributed much to Catchlove and Dalziel's downfall. They were seen to be out of touch.

I have not written a separate page about Mayne Nickless' privatisations but there is a separate set of pages devoted to privatisations and Colocations in each state. Mayne Nickless had problem privatisations in NSW (Port Macquarie) and Western Australia (Joondalup). They were involved in the Austin and Repatriation debacle in Victoria. They were also awarded privatisations in Tasmania (Mercy Hospital) and Queensland (Noosa).

CLICK HERE to go to the pages on privatisations and colocations in Australia.

(Note that there is additional information about management style, management practices and the conflict with nurses, doctors and the community on the page examining the privatisation of Port Macquarie Base Hospital by Mayne. There are illuminating press extracts )

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D. The Smedley Era
June 2000 to Nov 2001

Peter Smedley was a marketplace icon. He was trained in Shell he had been recruited by Colonial Mutual in 1992 at the time when it was in the doldrums. He brought with him a team of Shell followers. His ruthless restructuring and radical cost cutting made a lack lustre company profitable. He demutualised the company changed its name and listed it on the market. He bought a bank and using his "allfinanz" principles he totally restructured the way in which insurance, superannuation and banking was conducted in Australia. The company went from strength to strength purchasing other groups in Australia, the UK and Asia. The share price climbed from $4 when it was listed to $9 when the Commonwealth Bank bought it in early 2000. In the few years he was with Colonial he completed 17 acquisitions earning himself the nickname of the "Pacman".

Smedley was renowned for his ruthlessness, impatience and aggression. His style was described as management by fear. He brooked no opposition and was single mindedly focussed on profit and shareholder value. He received massive incentive bonuses and offered his staff similar incentives. He was intelligent, driving and very effective.

Smedley had a reputation for doing all of the things which Dalziel had failed to do. Analysts claimed he was exactly the doctor which Mayne needed and they snapped him up when he left Colonial.

Click Here for a description of Smedley's character and his business strategies in Colonial.

Smedley acted swiftly and efficiently. He brought his team with him from Colonial and put them into senior positions. He set up a committee of middle management to diagnose and propose treatment for Mayne. He then fired senior management and made these people responsible. He reorganised and restructured, firing staff and eliminating redundancies. He adopted Dalziel's plan and set out to build an integrated health system with a critical mass. His new ideas for the delivery of health were probably derived from his allfinanz model. He centralised control and finances. He sold existing businesses in the UK and then embarked on a buying spree. He bought a "wellness" corporation, then Australian Hospital Care and unexpectedly Faulding a pharmacy business. In this he was copying US diversified models. Mayne's fortunes revived dramatically and the share price climbed.

Experience from the USA suggests that with these policies attention will be directed away from care to market activities. Profit priorities will put pressure on care which is likely to be compromised. By the end of 2000 a confidential internal document was leaked describing Mayne's plan to replace trained staff with untrained nursing assistants. The nurses union was up in arms and Mayne was forced to back down. By late 2001 the medical profession was up in arms because of the hard nosed economic approach to care. Groups of doctors resigned from some hospitals. The AMA and the ABC's 7.30 report examined Mayne's practices and alleged that they were cherry picking - treating profitable healthy patients unlikely to develop complications and turning away sicker and frailer patients who needed care. The costs of treating them rendered them unprofitable.

At the end of 2001 the share price was still rising and rising. Smedley was still the darling of the market. A number of analysts were concerned about his style and his policies, fearing that he might be building up problems which someone else would have to sort out.

Click Here for a description of Smedley's management of Mayne Nickless in 2000 and 2001.

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1. Hospitals, Care and Other Health Matters

Mayne's health care business has never been far from controversy of one form or another. From the purchase of a small local hospital group as a side line in the late 1980's Mayne grew to dominate the corporate health system in Australia and to be primarily a multinational health care conglomerate. As such it was central to the controversy about contracting public care to private corporations. Its arrangements with government have been the subject of intense criticism by the public as well as by state Auditor Generals in NSW and Western Australia. The conduct of its hospitals has been criticised and state labour governments at least have abandoned outsourcing the care of public patients. There have been several critical television reports about the way Mayne operates and the care it provides.

Mayne was engaged with AXA and Dr. Wooldridge, the health minister in an attempt to tempt doctors into managed care style contracts. Mayne received considerable political patronage. Mayne staff have been given appointments which others have felt created a conflict of interest - the most glaring being the appointment of Dr. Catchlove to chair the HIC, the body which polices health care fraud. This culminated in the Scan Scam in which Catchlove and Mayne were implicated.

During 2000 and 2001 there were attempts to cut costs by deskilling nursing care. Doctors were disenchanted with Mayne's aggressive economic approach to care. There was an outcry about alleged selection of healthy profitable patients over older and frailer patients whose costs of care are higher.

Click Here to go to a page giving an overview of Mayne's health story, an account of its conflict with doctors and an overview of concerns about care. This page described what was happening in the hospitals prior to the collapse of Mayne and the loss of Smedley's credibility in 2002 - events in which hospitals and doctors played a key role as described next.

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E. Mayne Crashes
The Doctors walk away from Smedley
2002 - 2003

Smedley, his policies, and his arrogant disregard for the values and norms of health care ultimately brought Mayne to its knees and led to the breakup of the company and its dream of a vertically integrated health system.

Smedley embraced the MacMedicine model of health care advocated by Columbia/HCA but he did so without first gaining control of the medical profession. Mayne had never been popular with doctors and they saw Smedley's arrogant management style and Mayne's new practices as unethical and as compromising care. They were not compatible with the health care mission. They found that they were out of the loop and not consulted about issues affecting care. Decisions were made centrally in Mayne's Melbourne boardroom, dubbed the "Supreme Soviet" by doctors.

Doctors simply took their patients elsewhere and stopped using Mayne's diagnostic businesses. Incredibly the "Supreme Soviet", who were blindly focussed on cost cutting and acquisitions, were totally unaware of what was happening in their hospitals. When perceptive investors sold off shares and analysts became alarmed the stock exchange asked for explanations. Mayne issued assurances that profits were on track. When the figures came out 3 weeks later they showed a massive loss in the hospitals. Share prices plunged to Pre-Smedley levels. Smedley was sidelined and then pushed out.

Mayne now started breaking up. It sold off the remainder of its logistics and transport businesses and most of its other peripheral businesses. It stopped buying general practices. In October 2003 it sold all of its hospitals to a group of Venture Capitalists organised by Citigroup. That the lead Venture capitalist in the deal was a part of Citigroup, the giant Wall Street financial group which has been involved in scandal after scandal in the USA was not revealed to the Australian public or to the medical profession. Citigroup was a key player in the WorldCom and Enron frauds. It has paid fines and reached large settlements with defrauded shareholders. It is now implicated in the Parmalat scandal where it is being sued.

Citigroup has been a key force in the US health system advising and assisting many of the US corporate giants including HealthSouth, the company whose success was built on a $4 billion fraud. US $8 billion of the HealthSouth deals were managed by Citigroup's predecessor, Salomon Smith Barney. Salomon's staff attended board meetings and advised the company on strategy.

In August 2004 Mayne is primarily a pharmaceutical company with a major diagnostic division. It has been building up its diagnostic division through acquisitions to give it market share. It seems likely that this will be spun off at some stage leaving the once mighty Mayne name with the pharmaceutical company. The fashionable buzz words have changed from diversification and integration to "core business".

CLICK HERE for a description of what happened to Mayne and Smedley in 2002 and 2003.

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F. Mayne Sells all its Hospitals

As described above Smedley's management of the hospitals proved to be a disaster and he ran out of suitable takeover targets. Doctors were soon aware that care was being compromised and they simply took their patients elsewhere. The hospital division collapsed and dragged Mayne into large ongoing losses in 2002 and 2003. By then Smedley had been replaced and Robert Cook was in charge of the hospitals. Smedley's policies were reversed and the losses stemmed. Mayne had however had enough of hospitals and financiers wanted the diversified company to break up.

Mayne sold 6 hospitals to Healthscope and then invited bidders for the remainder of its hospitals. An Australian bid by groups with Australian health care experience lost out to a consortium of venture capitalists with no health care experience and international connections/control. These companies did a management buyout and called the new company Affinity Health. They planned to drive up profits to 30% and then float on the share market within 3 years.

The fact that the major bidder and turnaround agent CVC Asia Pacific was a part of Citigroup was concealed from investors and the public. Citigroup has extensive experience of the US health care marketplace through its other subsidiary Salomon Smith Barney. This company now renamed Citigroup Global Markets operates in Australia and has advocated the break up of Mayne for some years.

Citigroup and particularly its subsidiary Salomon Smith Barney (renamed Citigroup Global Markets after the recent scandals) have a track record of ongoing and recurrent frauds and scandals across the world dating back at least to 1990. They have been at the heart of the recent US scandals surrounding the technology and Dot Com bubbles, including the WorldCom, Enron and other frauds. Investors have lost an estimated US $7 trillion. Citigroup have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and investors are looking for up to US $30 billion in compensation, US $10 billion from Citigroup.

Citigroup was a coconspirator in frauds involving structured finance. They used structured finance to hide debt and show profits, which were not there, for companies like Enron. The other frauds involved share offerings particularly IPOs. CVC Asia Pacific is looking to generate a massive 30% profit from Mayne hospitals and then float them on the share market as an IPO. Australian investors are blissfully unaware of Citigroup's disturbing track record and the consequence of increased pressure for profit on care.

To address these issues I have written two pages about the Mayne purchase and the new company Affinity Health. I have also written a series of pages describing and analysing Citigroup and its conduct.

Mayne Health becomes Affinity Health

This page describes the sale of Mayne Health's hospitals to Venture Capitalists including a subsidiary of Citigroup. It examines the implications and possible adverse outcomes. The possible adverse impact of the "management buyout" strategy used is discussed.

The Companies Buying Mayne Health

This page examines available information about the three Venture Capital groups that have purchased Mayne Hospitals. It documents the way in which Citigroup's ownership was carefully omitted from reports in the Australian press so that the public was unaware of the nature and track record of the purchaser.


This page provides a short summary of the many scandals surrounding Citigroup and Financial markets. This is followed by an overview of the issues. It links to several pages giving more details of the scandals and frauds.

An article giving the history of US corporations in Australia and of Citigroup's involvement in the purchase of Mayne hospitals was published in New Doctor and can be downloaded at <>

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G. Mayne Finally Breaks Up (2004 to 2005)

The sale of Mayne's hospitals and the departure of Smedley did not mean new management. The Smedley team led by Smedley's shadow, Stuart James remained in place and were supported by the board in the face of criticism from shareholders and analysts. Under this lacklustre management the company's businesses consistently underperformed their competitors. Analysts and bankers pressed for James departure and for a break up with the sale of the company's assets to someone who could make them more profitable.

When the company's fortunes declined further in 2005 the board eventually agreed to break the company in two, an international pharmaceutical company to retain the Mayne name and a local conglomerate of mixed and not very compatible health care businesses name Simbion Health. Analysts see the international business as a takeover target and the local company as breaking up further. The behavior of Mayne's management in setting up the companies suggests that they do not see it that way.

This page also illustrates the problems in applying an uncompromising market focus to a context, health care, where this perspective is out of step with the reality of that context.

Click Here for an account of Mayne's break up.

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H. Mayne Diagnostics and General Practice

As part of its strategy to develop into a diversified health care giant, which would provide one stop health care, Mayne bought radiology and laboratory businesses over the years. It became one of the largest diagnostic operators in Australia. To secure referrals for these businesses it followed the lead of others and bought into General Practice clinics. General practice itself was never profitable but the diagnostic businesses did make money. They underperformed their competitors and the company was repeatedly urged to spin them off as a separate company under dedicated management. In 2005 the General Practice clinics became embroiled in a dispute with authorities about the non payment of par roll tax for doctors. In November 2005 I wrote a short review of the diagnostic and general practice divisions.

Click Here for more about Mayne's Diagnostic and General Practice businesses

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I. Controlling Mayne Nickless

I did not believe that Mayne Nickless was the sort of group which should be providing health care services to Australian citizens when they were ill and unable to act as effective customers. They are in my view not fit and proper people to discharge the community's responsibilities to this group.

I have over the years objected to hospital licenses for Mayne Nickless, publicised its failings, opposed its attempts to bind doctors with contracts and tried to restrict its expansion.

Click Here for an account of these efforts.

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Web Page History
This page created 1997 by
Michael Wynne
Modified April 2000 - Rewritten Nov 2001 -
Revised Aug 2004 - Minor changes Oct 2005