What was the Sonic Healthcare share price when it first listed on the ASX?

Sonic Healthcare has an interesting history…

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Key points

  • Sonic Healthcare has come a long way over the last three decades
  • The company started life as a failed mining company
  • After several years of struggles, the company changed its focus and eventually became the world's third largest pathology company

After being listed on the Australian share market for over three decades, the Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX: SHL) share price reached an all-time high of $46.95 around the turn of the year.

And while the pathology services company’s shares have pulled back meaningfully since then and are currently fetching $32.82, they are still a long way from where they started.

Where did the Sonic Healthcare share price start life?

Finding information on the Sonic Healthcare IPO from 1987 is a lot harder than you would think. But there’s a very good reason for that.

That reason is that Sonic Healthcare actually started life as a (failed) mining company named Gunnersen Nosworthy and then Sonic Technology Australia. Yes, you read that correctly. The world’s third largest pathology/laboratory medicine company originally was aiming to be a miner.

But sensing an opportunity, the company purchased its first pathology practice during the year of its IPO. That purchase was the Sydney-based Douglass Laboratories.

After this acquisition, the company continued to operate primarily as a mining focused company with little success. In fact, the Sonic share price soon reached a record low of just 3 cents in 1990.

Things would ultimately change for the better in 1992 when a new management team came in and made sweeping changes. By 1995, the company changed its name to Sonic Healthcare and its share price was trading at 55 cents. The rest, as they say, is history.

What if you’d invested early?

If you had invested in the IPO you would have no doubt done incredibly well. However, I wouldn’t really count that as the company’s true beginnings as it wasn’t a healthcare company at that point.

So, for the purpose of this exercise, I’m going to count 55 cents as the first real Sonic Healthcare share price.

Based on this, if you had invested $10,000 into Sonic’s shares back in 1995, you would have ended up with 18,181 shares. So, with the Sonic share price currently fetching $32.82 and no share-splits evident, your parcel of shares would be valued at a mouth-watering $596,700 today.

Not a bad return!

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Sonic Healthcare Limited. 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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