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Published: Thursday November 29, 2012 MYT 4:38:00 PM

KPJ Healthcare acquires stake in Thai hospital

JOHOR BAHARU: KPJ Healthcare Bhd, a member of Johor Corporation (JCorp) Group, continues its aggressive expansion in the regional healthcare market by acquiring a substantial stake in a Thailand hospital.

Its Chairman Kamaruzzaman Abu Kassim said KPJ forked out RM63 million to buy 23 per cent of multi specialty private healthcare provider, Vejthani Hospital, in Bangkok.

The 500-bed hospital is famous for its specialty in orthopaedic treatment.

"The stake acquisition in a Thailand Hospital will expand KPJ's reach within Asean's healthcare market. The potential profit contribution from Vejthani Hospital is expected to enhance KPJ Group's earnings in the future," said Kamaruzzaman, who is also JCorp President and Chief Executive, to reporters after attending KPJ's extraordinary general meeting.

He said the stake acquisition would be fulfilled via internal-generated funds but the transaction was expected to increase the company's gearing by about six per cent by the second quarter of next year.

KPJ bought the stake from a private equity fund.

According to Vejthani Hospital's website, it handled about 300,000 patients annually, with its share of international patients coming from 40 different countries worldwide.

He said efforts to grow KPJ's medical tourism segment was continuing, with the company targeting to raise the revenue contribution from the segment to as high as 25 per cent by 2020.

"Today, KPJ's health tourism patients are mainly from Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Somalia, Singapore, India and the Middle East," he said.

Besides Malaysia where it owned 22 private specialist hospitals, KPJ also has a presence in Indonesia with two hospitals in Jakarta and a retirement and aged care resort called Jeta Gardens in Brisbane, Australia.

Meanwhile, Managing Director Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah Sheikh Bakir, who was also present at the media conference, said apart from local parties, KPJ also received enquiries from foreign parties wanting the company to have a presence in their countries.

Today's EGM was held to discuss three resolutions proposed acquisition of 80 per cent equity interest in PT Khidmat Perawatan Jasa Medika (PT KPJ Medika) by Kumpulan Perubatan (Johor) Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of KPJ from JCorp.

The acquisition's total cost was RM15.8 million, said Kamaruzzaman.

The second resolution was on the proposed disposal of two pieces of land in Johor Baharu by KPJ's wholly-owned subsidiary, Puteri Specialist Hospital (Johor) Sdn Bhd, to Al-'Aqar Healthcare REIT for a total cash consideration of RM3.6 million.

The last resolution in today's EGM was on the proposed acquisition of a parcel of vacant commercial land in Mukim Tebrau, Johor Baharu, by Renalcare Perubatan (M) Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned unit of KPJ from Johor Land Bhd for RM45 million.

The purchase of the land in Bandar Dato Onn was to enable KPJ to build a 150-bed private hospital, costing RM100 million, by early next year and be completed by 2015.

KPJ's Bandar Dato Onn Hospital was one of the six hospitals the company planned to build throughout the country, which was under the ambit of the government's Entry Point Projects (EPP). - BERNAMA

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