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 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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Corporate Practices

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Pathology & Radiology

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Gen. Pract. Corporatisation
Hospital Corporatisation
Entry to Privatisation
Privatisation Background
Australian states

Diagnostic companies

Sonic Healthcare
Sonic chronology
Mayne Nickless
Gribbles Group
Primary Health
Macquarie Health
Healthscope Path
DCA (I-med)

GP companies

Foundation chronology
LifeCare chronology
Primary Health
Mayne Health

This page gives a year by year outline of Sonic's progress and a list of references

 Australian section   


Chronological Account and References







1948 incorporated in Victoria as Gunnersen Nosworthy Ltd.

1961 Delisted

1987 Acquired Douglas Laboratories in Sydney where Colin Goldschmidt was a histopathologist. Lists on share market.

June 1990 Share price 5 cents (all time low had been 3 cents)

1992 Michael Boyd pays $4 million for for 23% of Sonic, which is still primarily a failing mining technology business. He switches Sonic into pathology and Goldschmidt becomes CEO. Sonic merges its Adelaide operations with Clinpath Laboratories Pty Ltd with an option to buy. (By 2005, 13 years later Boyd's shares were worth $255 million)

1993 Acquires Macquarie Laboratories Pty Ltd in Sydney

1994 Exercises option and buys Clinipath for $521,830. Acquires Tan pathology.

1995 Share price 55 cents. Changes its name from Sonic Technology Australia Ltd to Sonic Healthcare Ltd. Acquires Pathlab in Adelaide.

1996 The merger involving Hanly Moir and Barratt and Smith practices,

Feb 1996 Trading at 82 cents - high turnover of shares.

Sept/Oct/Nov 1996 Has become the darling of the sector and is now the largest pathology group in Australia. Share price $1.70

June 1997 Expands into Indonesia in joint venture health project to provide automated PAP smears. Buys Lifescreen Australia.

October 1997 Buys Lifescreen Australia Pty Ltd, a national health evaluation service used by 23 large life insurers.

February 1998 Share price reaches about $2 moving up to $2.89 by the beginning of 1999. Sonic focuses on solid profits from existing operations rather than expansion. Acquires Exelpath Mobile Paramedical services.

May 1998 Spins off the company Silex Systems which raises $4 million in a float.

(Between 1992 and 1999, sales increased from $12 million to $175 million.)

February 1999 Sonic is making record profits. It starts expanding again and buys Southern Pathology Services in Wollongong and Australian Diagnostic Laboratories in Sydney from Alpha Healthcare. Sonic has absorbed 5 pathology groups over 5 years. Michael Boyd's $4 million investment is now worth $80 million. Its share price rises to an all-time high of $3.20. Expands in SciGen, a pharmaceutical company in Singapore.

Sonic sees the privatisation of public hospital pathology, particularly in Victoria as a growth area.

March/April 1999 One of Sonic's section wins prize for customer service and rapid turn-around time. Barry Patterson's original $1 million investment in Sonic and Silex is now worth $60 million.

August 1999 Announces profit increase of 52%

September/October 1999 Outbids Mayne by paying $502.7 million to buy Swiss group Societe Generale de Surveillance SA's Australasian diagnostics operations. Sonic had been overtaken by Mayne but this doubles its size and makes it the biggest operator of pathology services in Australia - 35%. It now has a presence in every state and had also acquires facilities in New Zealand, where its holding includes its first radiology business. Sonic's shares rise to $6 and then to $6.70 in October and $7.51 in December. It goes to the market to raise some of the capital needed. Southern Pathology, a NSW subsidiary of Sonic Healthcare Ltd. wins a 1999 Australian Quality Awards for Business Excellence.


Jan 2000 Michael Boyd resigns as chairman and also as a director of Sonic Healthcare to pursue his other businesses. He is replaced by father in law Barry Patterson

April 2000 Acquires Hitech Pathology.

May 2000 Sonic feels its referral base is threatened by the buy up of GP practices by competitors and indicates a reversal of previous policy with plans to go into GP management. Goldschmidt does not want to compete with his referral base but sees no way around it.

July 2000 Goldschmidt resolves his dilemma. Sonic buys a 10% holding in Foundation Healthcare, a General Practice company formed by Boyd. It forms an alliance in which Foundation will manage the GP practices and Sonic has the right to provide services to these medical centres. Goldschmidt joined Foundation board and Boyd joins Sonic board again.

Sonic will expand into radiology and supply radiology services as well. Boyd's other company LifeCare will provide allied health services and dentistry. They claim that by having three separate companies they are not having vertical integration. (All parties strenuously assert this) Sonic will at least not appear to be competing with the GP's who refer to it. Foundation's GP will have shares in Foundation but not in Sonic. Sonic will buy Foundations pathology operations.

August 2000 Sonic buys Pacific Medical Imaging's Australian and New Zealand operations. This is its first move into radiology in Australia. This move gives it 5-6% of the market. It goes to the market for $100 million to fund this. Foundation buys 10% of LifeCare. Boyd is the major shareholder and also a director of all three companies.

November 2000 Profits still growing and share price reaches $8.30. Announces merger with Radclin Medical Imaging, the largest privately-owned radiology practice in Victoria. 55 percent of Sonic's offer is made up of shares with the remaining 45 percent cash. Also buys Queensland X-ray using a combination of cash and shares. The share price goes to $9.10. Sonic declines to reveal how much it paid for the three radiology practices in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

December 2000 Sixty-four pathologists sell 48.4 million of Sonic shares -- $756,000 each.


February 2001 Sonic indicates its plan to buy Clinipath Pathology and Bunbury Pathology from Foundation which claims that pathology does not fit with its main focus. Sigma Pharmacology joins the alliance which will provide services in Foundation medical centres.

March 2001 Sonic planned to float its Singapore business Singapore-based pharmaceutical subsidiary SciGen Pte Ltd. retaining a 40% interest. It abandons this due to rocky market conditions.

May 2001 The purchase of Radclin Medical Imaging, Sonic radiology's foray into Victoria fails and the radiology business is purchased by its rival Medical Imaging Australasia.

June 2001 Sonic reaches a deal with Foundation to buy Clinipath Pathology , Bunbury Pathology, La Trobe Network Pathology and E-Radiology.

July 2001 Buys SKG Radiology, the largest in WA for cash and shares (35%).

August 2001 Purchases the pathology assets of Cairns Pathology Laboratory In north Queensland.

November 2001 Sonic's profits are up 40% and it plans to expand internationally. Europe, the USA, Canada and Asia are considered potential sites. It goes to the market for another $150 million to pay down debt and put it in a position to expand further. The press speculates about likely targets across the globe.


March 2002 Sonic has purchased The Doctor's Laboratory (TDL) for $180 million. TDL is a London pathology business supplying services throughout the U.K. It plans to build a large state of the art laboratory in London so that it can bid for contracts to supply services to the NHS.

May 2002 LifeCare and Foundation Healthcare merge and soon after the resulting entity is renamed Independent Practitioner Network (IPN).

April 2002 Sonic reports that its half year profits have fallen. By July its September 2001 share price of $9 had halved. Investors were angry that Sonic did not flag its losses earlier and allowed expectations to run ahead of reality. The loss was in Victoria due to Mayne's takeover of AHC hospitals which had supported Sonic. It should have been anticipated. By the end of the year share prices had recovered.

November 2002 Spins off Singapore company SciGen and takes up an option to own 10% of LifeCare.


April 2003 Increases holding in the now merged Foundation and LifeCare companies to 18.5%. The merged company has been renamed Independent Practitioner Network (IPN).

June 2003 Acquires Omnilabs Pathology in UK from MIA and enters agreement for joint developments when tendering for National Health (NHS) contracts.

July 2003 Commences reports to doctors using internet. Federal government agrees to a profitable Medicare funding increase for radiology.

August 2003 Enters agreement with University College London Hospital NHS Trust (UCLH) to open a high-volume, state-of-the-art automated pathology laboratory at TDL's new premises in London. Omnilabs is to be merged into TDL. In Australia Primary Healthcare buys 9.2% of IPN threatening a takeover bid. It increases this quietly to 20%.

September 2003 Michael Boyd ceases to be a director.

November 2003 Acquires Brisbane-based private radiology practice, Southside Diagnostic Services Group.


April 2004 Acquires 56% of Schottdorf Group pathology business in Germany. Agreement for users of Medical Director in Australia to order services from Sonic over internet.

June 2004 Primary Healthcare mounts a hostile bid for control of IPN threatening Sonic's referral base. Sonic is forced to mount a counter bid for control of IPN.

July 2004 Primary abandons its takeover bid selling its shares in IPN to Sonic at a profit. Sonic ends up as a 72% owner of IPN.

October 2004 Sonic buys Endeavour Healthcare's Accord Pathology business and IPN buys its general practitioner business.


March 2005 Gives up the charade and its claims about not owning GPs and so competing with its referral base. Sonic buys the remainder of IPN.

August 2005 Buys 80% stake in Texas based US company Clinical Pathology Laboratories (CPL) Inc.

September 2005 A planned merger with New Zealand Diagnostic Group Ltd is blocked by authorities in that country on competition grounds.


COURIER-MAIL February 9, 1996
Australian Financial Review 9 Nov 1996
Sonic presents a picture of health
Sonic expands
Sonic Boom Yields Healthy $4m
Australian Financial Review February 13, 1998
Rapid Rise For Sonic Healthcare
Australian Financial Review August 25, 1998
Managing Director`s AGM Statement to Shareholders
2 Nov 1998
Put People First, Profit Will Follow
Australian Financial Review February 5, 1999
Industry Awards Showcase The Best In The West
Australian Financial Review March 22, 1999
Patterson's Trading Joy Masks Real Estate Frustration
Australian Financial Review April 23, 1999
Silex Laser's Economic Process Hits American Paydirt
Australian Financial Review June 11, 1999
In good health
Australian Financial Review August 21, 1999
Grant of Options - Employee Option Plan
SONIC HEALTHCARE LIMITED Australian Stock Exchange 24 Aug 2001
Sonic Buyout Of SGS Operations Boosts Its Market Share To 35pc
Australian Financial Review September 11, 1999
Sonic booms in as country's top healthcare group
Courier Mail September 11, 1999
Pathological Buyer Does The Right Thing
Australian Financial Review September 18, 1999
And The Winners For The Year Are...
Australian Financial Review October 22, 1999
Chairman's Address
Alpha Healthcare Limited Press Release 23 November 1999
Boyd lowers boom on robust Sonic
The Australian January 3, 2000
Dalziel's Mayne Game Through Scale And Synergies
Australian Financial Review 6 March 2000
BRIEFS :::: Sonic backs SciGen
The Australian March 8, 2000
Sonic's Flat Result Hides Solid Growth
Australian Financial Review March 8, 2000
Sonic Healthcare Plans Move Into GP Services
Australian Financial Review May 15, 2000
Owning The Whole Kit And Caboodle
Australian Financial Review May 24, 2000
Call For Check On Corporatised Medicine
Australian Financial Review May 29, 2000
Dalziel Ready To Take His Mayne Chance
Australian Financial Review 19 June 2000
SHL`s ann: Takes Equity Stake in FNC & Strategic Alliance
SONIC HEALTHCARE LIMITED Australian Stock Exchange 10 July 2000
Corporate Medicine: Coming To The Local GP
Australian Financial Review July 11, 2000
GPs Inc - Profits or patients
Sydney Morning Herald August 10, 2000 
Boyd builds on LifeCare foundation
The West Australian August 26, 2000
Sonic play reshapes X-ray ways
The Australian August 28, 2000
Sonic To Raise Radiology Funds
Australian Financial Review August 29, 2000
Corporate Medicine
Business Review Weekly 29 September 2000
Caution Rules As Shares Fall Again
Australian Financial Review October 10, 2000
The Australian November 1, 2000
Sonic's boom a boon for investors - 10-year winner / SHAREHOLDER SCORECARD
The Australian November 1, 2000
Warburg Misses The Mayne Gig
Australian Financial Review 21 November 2000
ASIA PULSE November 22, 2000
Sonic Speeds Consolidation
Australian Financial Review November 22, 2000
Sonic Rules Out Counter Bid For AHC
Australian Financial Review November 2000
Healthy Prognosis For Mayne Nickless
Australian Financial Review 25 November 2000
Sonic's boom
Australian Financial Review November 29, 2000
Sonic Cuts A Swathe In Rationalisation Race
Australian Financial Review December 2, 2000
Sonic boom
Australian Financial Review December 19, 2000
A boom for Sonic?
Australian Financial Review February 13, 2001
The West Australian February 14, 2001
First-half Rise A Super Tonic For Sonic
Australian Financial Review February 16, 2001
Health Risks For Packer And Smedley
Australian Financial Review 10 March 2001
Sonic Prepares $25m-30m IPO For Sci-Gen Arm
Australian Financial Review March 12, 2001
BRIEFS :::: Sonic plans float

The Australian March 13, 2001
MIA Buy A Bitter Pill For Sonic To Swallow
Australian Financial Review May 26, 2001
Sale to Sonic Healthcare of Clinipath Pathology
FOUNDATION HEALTHCARE LIMITED Australian Stock Exchange 1 June 2001
The X-Ray files: Sonic booms in the west
The Australian July 6, 2001
BRIEFS:::: Sonic expands
The Weekend Australian August 18, 2001
Diagnostics Providers Continue To Expand
Shares Magazine 09/01/2001
Sonic, Up 40pc, Looks Offshore
Sydney Morning Herald 09/11/2001
Sonic booming
Australian Financial Review September 12, 2001
Cottage Industry Has Been Transformed
Australian Financial Review November 20, 2001
The Rise And Rise Of Medicare Millionaires
Australian Financial Review 11/20/2001
Sonic Eyes Overseas Opportunities
Australian Financial Review November 20, 2001
Making Good In Bad Times A True Skill
Australian Financial Review November 20, 2001
Sonic Healthcare Limited (SHL.AX) Sonic moves into the UK.
Australian Stock Exchange Company Announcements March 12, 2002
Banks, media batter all ords
The Australian March 13, 2002
Sonic Performance Not So Healthy
Australian Financial Review March 13, 2002
Investors Sound Angry Warning To Sonic
Australian Financial Review March 14, 2002
QML Looks Like A Mayne Event
Australian Financial Review March 18, 2002
QML Poised For Fall To Corporatisation
Australian Financial Review March 18, 2002
Pain for doctors
The Australian March 19, 2002
Health care duo opt for merger.
The West Australian May 13, 2002
Smaller Companies Guide September 18, 2002
Sonic boom
Business Review Weekly September 5, 2002
Sonic Healthcare Limited
Jobson's Year Book October 31, 2002
IPN completes cycle of change
Australian Financial Review April 2, 2003
Radiology gets a $1.5bn boost.
Australian Financial Review July 2, 2003
Sonic screens radiology tests.
Australian Financial Review July 8, 2003
Sonic in agreement to open new UK pathology lab.
Australian Associated Press Financial News Wire August 7, 2003
Sonic to acquire private Brisbane radiology practice
Ralph Wragg Australian Business News October 29, 2003
Sonic Lifts Earnings 34% In A `cracking' Half
The Sydney Morning Herald February 20, 2004
Australian Company News Bites April 1, 2004
Primary Makes Its Move For IPN
The Sydney Morning Herald June 8, 2004
Sonic Bid Has Primary Ill-at-ease
The Age June 23, 2004
A little richer for experience
Australian Financial Review July 26 2004
Australian Company News Bites October 20, 2004
Australian Financial Review March 19, 2005
Sonic ups offer to get IPN nod
The Australian May 11, 2005
Australia's Sonic Steps Into US Via US$300M Buy
Dow Jones Commodities Service August 24, 2005
NZCC blocks Sonic/NZ Diagnostic merger in 6 districts
Ralph Wragg Australian Business News September 29, 2005
Australian Company News Bites October 4, 2005

Web Page History
This page created June 2002 by
Michael Wynne
Updated January 2006