IHH’s expansion into China, Myanmar seen as a good move

Stable demand: IHH’s Gleneagles hospital in Singapore. Analysts say the healthcare sector is quite resilient against the vagaries of oil price fluctuations.

PETALING JAYA: IHH Healthcare Bhd’s expansion into China and Myanmar bodes well for the company whose share price has held up in recent times despite turbulence in the market.

IHH recently leased a space in Chengdu, China at the latter’s Perennial International Health and Medical Hub to put up the 350-bed ParkwayHealth Chengdu Hospital.

The hospital will be Chengdu’s first foreign tertiary hospital and IHH’s first hospital in Western China, operated by its largest operating subsidiary Parkway Pantai.

It is scheduled to open in the second half of next year and will be equipped with advanced medical facilities and equipment, providing specialised care and clinical services including obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, cardiology, orthopaedics, ophthalmology and internal medicine.

As for the fast-growing market of Myanmar, IHH on Sunday held a ground breaking ceremony for a US$70mil (RM299.6mil), 250-bed hospital in downtown Yangon through a joint venture.

The new hospital, Parkway Yangon, is the company’s first hospital in Myanmar.

“This continues to be the main thrust of our growth strategy to expand our presence in China and India and that region. We are very bullish on the growth prospects in those two countries,” an IHH spokesperson told StarBiz.

For IHH, its story of growth in China continues to build upon what had been achieved there before with smaller hospital management contracts, indicating that the company had learnt well the intricate ways of how business is done there.

“This is our first major presence in mainland China proper through a joint venture company. We also have a presence in Hong Kong with the Gleneagles Hospital,” he said.

“We believe that in good or bad times our position of financial strength gives us ample bargaining power especially in such deals, or even in any inorganic opportunities,” he pointed out.

IHH’s shares have been hovering at a fixed general trading range of RM6 to RM6.70 in the past four months.

Observers noted that the downside concerns of growth in China had largely been exaggerated by the international markets and may have already been more than priced into expectations.

Analysts pointed out that the healthcare sector is quite resilient against the vagaries of oil price fluctuations.

“Demand for healthcare is always stable and resilient in good or bad times,” AMResearch’s analyst Max Koh said.

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