Healthscope Ltd says it will sell five of its non-core hospital assets to privately owned Healthe Care Australia (Healthe Care Australia) for $63.2 million as it seeks to reduce its debt.

Healthscope, which owns and operates private hospitals, said the sale price compared favourably with the hospitals' book value of $38 million.

The company will sell the real estate of four of the hospitals to property group SAI Teys McMahon.

The five hospitals are Brisbane Waters Private Hospital and Dubbo Private Hospital in NSW, La Trobe Private Hospital in Victoria, North West Private Hospital in Tasmania, and the Palm Beach Clinic in Queensland.

The sale of the hospitals - except for Brisbane Waters, which is subject to approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - is scheduled for completion on October 1 with legal transfer to occur once relevant approvals are received.

Healthscope's portfolio of centres currently includes 48 surgical, rehabilitation and psychiatric hospitals, which it owns or manages.

It expects the net gain on the sale to be reported in its results for the first half of 2006/07.

Shares in the company fell four cents to $4.85 on Thursday.