August 23, 2018 / 7:11 AM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-Georgia Capital opts to keep majority stake in healthcare unit

(Adds company comments, details on winery buyout)

Aug 23 (Reuters) - Investment firm Georgia Capital Plc has dropped plans to reduce its 57 percent stake in Georgia Healthcare Group Plc, saying it expected strong growth from the business and had already fully funded other investment plans.

Georgia Capital, a wide-ranging investment business focussed in the Black Sea state and hived off from BGEO Group Plc earlier this year, said during the demerger it was "highly probable" it would own less than a 50 percent stake in (GHG) at the end of 2018.

"Over the last few months GHG's share price has, in our view, not reflected the company's strong performance and excellent growth prospects," said Irakli Gilauri, Georgia Capital Chairman and CEO.

"We manage our capital needs such that we do not depend on premature liquidation of our listed investments. Based on our capital allocation outlook, our net investment plans for the next three years of GEL 128 million are comfortably funded," Gilauri added.

Georgia Capital also said seperately it would buy out the 39.5 percent stake it does not already own in popular Georgian winery Kindzmarauli Marani. It already holds a 60.5 percent indirect stake in Kindzmarauli.

Georgia Capital said it expects that the purchase of the stake will "strengthen its existing beverage business with an increased presence in the growing domestic and international markets for Georgian wine". (Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham)

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