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Last Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008, 12:29 GMT
NI company in 90m hospital deal
George Best
George Best was treated at the hospital
A Belfast-based company has sold a top London hospital to Bupa for 90m.

A deal was agreed between the health insurance company and Ballyrogan Holdings over the Cromwell Hospital.

Ballyrogan Holdings is a private family company owned by two of Northern Ireland's leading entrepreneurs, Shamus and Francis Jennings.

Northern Ireland football legend George Best received a life-saving liver transplant at the hospital in 2002 and was treated before his death in 2005.

The Jennings brothers were in the headlines recently when they completed a merger between their company Rotary International, which provides engineering services for major construction projects, and Australian company the Hastie Group, a deal that netted them about 95m.

In a statement, they said they were selling the Cromwell in order to concentrate on other business interests.

They are involved in the urban regeneration and property development company Cusp, which has a property portfolio worth more than 500m, and Culzean Holdings, a joint venture company formed to develop branded hotels throughout Ireland.

The Kensington-based Cromwell is a private hospital well-known for its pioneering of state-of-the-art medical equipment and cancer services and also has particular expertise in neuroscience and paediatrics.

About 600 consultants practice there, mainly drawn from London teaching hospitals, covering over 70 different specialities.

Bupa plans to invest a further 30m in the 128-bed hospital to create a centre of excellence for private patients.

Fergus Kee, of Bupa, said: "We believe there is tremendous opportunity to introduce modern, innovative ways of delivering healthcare in the capital offering high quality levels of customer service, clinical excellence and more cost effective care.

"We will be continuing the progressive management of the Jennings family by investing a further 30m in the Cromwell Hospital over the next two years to create a centre of excellence for private patients."

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