Abano Healthcare's admission this week that its Australian acquisition strategy has essentially been a failure is a major blow for shareholders and raises tough questions over past statements made by the company's board.

News that Abano has now halted its purchases of dental practises across the Tasman was delivered on Tuesday along with a 12.6 per cent profit guidance downgrade. As the share price sank 30 per cent to less than $4.40 - wiping $35m of the company's market value - investor concern turned on whether their dividend was safe.

More on that shortly. But first we need to