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Are these the best buy and hold shares in the ASX200?

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is full of wonderful Australian businesses, some are great buy and hold options.

If you’re wanting to go for attractive buy and hold shares then you’ll want businesses with reliable earnings, a solid history and good growth potential.

Here are three ASX200 shares that could be buy and hold options:

Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC)

Ramsay is one of the largest private hospital operators in the world. Prior to its European Capio acquisition Ramsay had major operations in Australia, France and the UK. The Capio acquisition expands its French operations and also means Ramsay will have networks of facilities in Scandinavia and Germany.

Healthcare businesses are exposed to long-term growth tailwinds thanks to the ageing population. Ramsay is one of the highest-quality businesses on the ASX, it’s investing heavily in expanding existing hospitals and opening new hospitals.

The main issue currently facing Ramsay is the unaffordability of private health insurance premiums by younger policyholders. If this is resolved then Ramsay may return to sustainable high single digit profit growth.

Transurban Group (ASX: TCL)

Transurban is one of the largest toll road operators in the world. If you regularly drive on a toll road in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane there’s a good chance you use one of Transurban’s time-saving roads. Time is money after all.

I think Transurban is one of the best infrastructure plays in the world. Steadily growing traffic numbers and the price of each toll is resulting in a pleasing growing income stream for shareholders.

The growing toll road operations in North America are particularly attractive for additional diversification of its earnings.

It currently offers a distribution yield of 4.9%. But, it isn’t cheap considering bond rates are rising.

Brickworks Limited (ASX: BKW)

Brickworks is one of the largest construction-related businesses in Australia. The company also has a large stake in Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co Ltd (ASX: SOL) which helps Brickworks even out the cashflow in quieter construction years.

The recent acquisition of US brick business Glen Gery has opened up a large growth avenue for Brickworks, which could drive growth for many years ahead.

Brickworks currently has a grossed-up dividend yield of 4.6%.

Foolish takeaway

Each of these shares has an impressive dividend record, fairly defensive earnings and attractive long-term growth prospects. I’d be happy to own all of them for the long-term.

At the current prices I’d want to buy shares of Brickworks as a way of investing into Soul Patts at a discounted price. I would like to buy more Ramsay shares but it’s too expensive considering it only expects profit growth of 2% in FY19.

Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison owns shares of Ramsay Health Care Limited and Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Transurban Group and Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Brickworks and Ramsay Health Care Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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