SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Ensign Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: ENSG), announced today that it has acquired the underlying real estate and other operating assets of Paramount Health & Rehabilitation Center, an 85-bed skilled nursing facility in Salt Lake City. An Ensign subsidiary has been operating the facility since December of 2008 under a lease with an option to purchase. The acquisition was effective December 31, 2009.
"This acquisition reflects our deep and long-term commitment to Paramount's local community in particular, and to the State of Utah in general," said Derek Gasser, President of Ensign's Utah-based Milestone Healthcare subsidiary. He added that the facility was struggling with 51% occupancy and other issues when Ensign acquired the operation in late 2008, but finished 2009 with occupancy near 70%, and is on track to be accretive to earnings in the fourth quarter of 2009. "We have more work ahead of us, but we are very pleased with the facility's progress and the community's response thus far," he affirmed.
The acquisition also included rights to 14 additional Medicaid beds, which Ensign has elected to temporarily "bank" with the State of Utah.
Paramount was acquired from a family that had built and successfully operated the facility for many years, and then leased it to other operators, only to see it falter under Ensign's predecessor. "We are honored that the former owners would entrust their family's legacy to us, and we are committed to restoring the standards and reputation they established at Paramount," said Christopher Christensen, Ensign's President and Chief Executive Officer.
Ensign also acquired Emmett Care & Rehabilitation Center, a 72-bed skilled nursing facility in Emmett, Idaho, and Parke View Rehabilitation & Care Center, an 86-bed skilled nursing facility in Burley, Idaho, on January 1, 2010. The Burley property included approximately 8,000 square of commercial office space, which is leased to various tenants. The Idaho purchases, like the Salt Lake City purchase, were made with cash.
Mr. Christensen reaffirmed that Ensign is actively seeking additional opportunities to acquire both well-performing and struggling long-term care operations across the Western United States. The two acquisitions and one option exercise bring Ensign's growing portfolio to 79 facilities, 49 of which are Ensign-owned. Ensign affiliates hold purchase options on eight of the 30 leased facilities.
The Ensign Group, Inc.'s independent operating subsidiaries provide a broad spectrum of skilled nursing and assisted living services, physical, occupational and speech therapies, hospice services, and other rehabilitative and healthcare services for both long-term residents and short-stay rehabilitation patients at 79 facilities in California, Arizona, Texas, Washington, Utah, Idaho and Colorado. More information about Ensign is available at http://www.ensigngroup.net.
SOURCE The Ensign Group, Inc.