Healthcare provider seeks to grow bigger

By Karen Yip (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-11-29 10:38
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Healthcare provider seeks to grow bigger

Parkway Holdings Ltd's Parkway Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore. [Photo / Bloomberg]

Parkway Holdings looks for acquisitions and partnerships

BEIJING - Parkway Holdings Limited, a healthcare services provider that owns hospitals across Asia, is keen to seek acquisitions or partnerships in an effort to further expand its current and future business in China, said a company spokesperson.

"We are always open to opportunities (including venturing into other medical-related areas) which could further grow our businesses and expand our network, where it makes sense," said the media officer, who declined to be named, in an e-mail reply to China Daily recently.

Such a move will help the Singapore-listed company to capitalize on growth opportunities in China as it foresees that there will be a growing demand for quality healthcare services in such cities as Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenzhen, and Chengdu in the next decade, driven by the rising affluence of the population.

Without providing specific details for competition reasons, he said any joint venture or acquisition target has to be aligned with the group's positioning in the market as a premium private healthcare provider in Asia-Pacific.

"At Parkway, we welcome any new initiatives by the Chinese government to further liberalize the local healthcare industry as it will enable us to increase our commitment and presence in the region and exploit growth opportunities," he said. Foreigners are allowed to own up to a 70 percent equity stake in hospitals in China.

The spokesperson said ParkwayHealth China's specialized focus on obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, pediatrics and sports medicine are exciting growth areas for the group.

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To further strengthen its commitment in China, Parkway Holdings through its subsidiary ParkwayHealth China entered into a partnership in November 2009 with Shanghai Fosun Ping Yao Investment Management Co Ltd and Shanghai Hui Xing Hospital Investment Management Co Ltd to jointly establish medical centers in Shanghai.

In addition, through its acquisition of the World Link group in 2007, ParkwayHealth China has become Shanghai's largest foreign-owned medical network.

Analysts say that while Parkway is keen to expand its presence in China, getting a license for a new facility is challenging, and attracting local patients, who are used to traditional Chinese medicine, to Western medicine remains an uphill task.

On the flipside, Parkway holds promises, wrote analyst Jaj Singh of UBS in a report. He said that Parkway is in a "sweet spot" as it stands to gain from a number of factors, including Asia's increasingly aging population and the growth in purchasing power of Asian economies.

"Parkway's expertise, reputation and growing regional footprint puts it in a good position to capture the secular growth of the Asian healthcare market," Jaj wrote.

"There is certainly room for growth in its international operations due to strong demand for private healthcare services in Asia," said Lynette Tan, an analyst at DMG & Partners Securities in Singapore.

Parkway owns 49 percent in the joint venture that runs Apollo Gleneagles in Kolkata, India, which is a 425-bed multi-specialty hospital.

Parkway Holdings, which ventured from property development into healthcare in 1987, is one of the region's leading providers of healthcare services, with a network of 16 hospitals with more than 3,400 beds throughout Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, India and China.

Healthcare provider seeks to grow bigger