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UPDATE 1-Siemens Healthineers raises 2.3 bln eur to finance Varian buy

(Adds detail, capital increase, share price)

BERLIN, March 25 (Reuters) - Siemens Healthineers on Thursday said it raised 2.3 billion euros ($2.7 billion) overnight by selling new shares to institutional investors, with the fresh funds to be used to pay for U.S. peer Varian.

The German medical equipment maker aims to become a world leader in cancer care therapy with the $16.4 billion acquisition.

As a result of the capital increase, parent group Siemens’s stake in Siemens Healthineers shrinks to around 75% from 79%.

Siemens Healthineers sold 53 million new shares at 44.10 euros each, a 5% discount to Wednesday’s closing price.

The biggest buyer was the Qatar Investment authority (QIA), the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund, which bought a 380 million euro package, Siemens Healthineers said.

Healthineers shares traded at 45.88 euros at 1026 GMT.

“The share price development and the smooth capital increase show that investors more and more understand the strategic idea of the Varian takeover,” Siemens Healthineers finance chief Jochen Schmitz told Reuters in an interview. “We see this as proof of trust.”

The Qatar investment does not mean additional business with the state, said Schmitz. It rather reflected the fund’s long-term horizon.

Schmitz also said that Healthineers was on track to complete the Varian buy in the first half of the year as there were only a few approvals outstanding after the deal already gained the nod from authorities in the United States and the European Union.

The group sees early signs of rising demand for its products in North America and therefore feels comfortable with its 2021 growth forecast, the CFO said.

$1 = 0.8464 euros Reporting by Alexander Huebner, writing by Kirsti Knolle, editing by Riham Alkousaa and Maria Sheahan

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