The independent healthcare company set to run Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust as the first UK hospital franchise was floated last week on AIM, a part of the London Stock Exchange.

Circle Holdings, which was floated, owns 50.1 per cent of Circle – the rest is owned by a partnership of consultants and Circle employees. The shares opened at 158 pence and rose to 160.5 pence by Monday afternoon. It had a market capitalisation of £95.4m when floated.

An admission document to the market said the company had identified three more NHS trusts that could look to the franchise option. These were Trafford Healthcare, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and the Whiston Hospital (St Helen’s & Knowsley).

It said: “The directors believe that there is a clear imperative for underperforming or under review NHS trusts to explore alternative management options, and the directors expect that further NHS trusts will follow the precedent set by Hinchingbrooke and seek a partnership with the independent sector.

It said the company’s directors “believe that Circle is well placed to win such contracts if they are tendered”.

Circle’s deal to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital has been awaiting ministerial sign off from the Department of Health and the Treasury since November.

The document said there was “no guarantee that it [the contract] will be signed”.

The document said if the franchise agreement did not go through this “would have an adverse effect on Circle’s business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects and consequently those of the company”.

A financial statement included in the document shows the company made a loss of £39.4m in 2010. Its total revenue was £76.4m, largely made up of £70.4m income from Circle’s NHS business.

The company’s private business made a loss of £18.1m.