Singapore Medical Group (SMG) has attracted leading Korean healthcare group CHA Healthcare Co., as a strategic shareholder with S$15.0 million investment.

SMG, a multi-disciplinary specialist healthcare services provider, has announced the signing of a collaborative agreement with CHA (“CHC”), the international subsidiary of leading Korean comprehensive healthcare provider CHA Medical Group (“CHA”).

SMG said it plans to use the proceeds to aggressively explore further organic and inorganic growth opportunities in Singapore and Southeast Asia as it transforms into a pan-Asia private healthcare specialist.

SMG and CHA will jointly pursue strategic initiatives in Singapore, Vietnam and other key markets across Southeast Asia.

SMG will issue 30.0 million new ordinary shares to CHC at S$0.50 per share via a private placement.

CHC will emerge as SMG’s 4th largest shareholder with a 8.8% stake of the enlarged shareholding base and its largest strategic equity partner.

Established in 1960, CHA opened its first Obstetrics & Gynecology ("O&G") practice in Seoul, South Korea and has developed over the past six decades into one of Asia’s leading medical groups, encompassing the full healthcare spectrum from research and education to hospital and clinic care.

At present, CHA has a 
comprehensive healthcare platform including:

• 10 general & specialty hospitals with a total c.1,500 beds and 4 medical check-up centers in Korea

• 2 healthcare facilities in the United States including CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, one of the largest private general hospitals in Los Angeles with 434 beds and c.3,500 deliveries annually

• 1 therapeutic cell treatment clinic in Tokyo, Japan

• 27 research and educational institutions including CHA University Medical School

• More than 2 million outpatient visits and 450,000 inpatient admissions annually

• c.1,200 physicians and c.2,400 nurses globally

Over the years, CHA has received worldwide recognition and accolades for its excellence in clinical research and accomplishments in the fields of reproductive medicine and O&G. CHA is widely recognised as Korea’s leading expert in infertility, women’s health and maternity care, with c.6,000 deliveries and c.12,000 IVF cases annually.

CHA also operates “CHA Bio Group” which includes 2 companies listed on the Korea Exchange and 
primarily focused on cell therapy and pharmaceuticals with a combined market capitalisation of S$1,240.4 million as of 15 February 2017.

DrBengTeckLiang8.16b“In the region, there is a sizeable Korean community that seeks high quality healthcare with a strong preference for Korean-affiliated services that we can tap into. In Singapore and Vietnam, two markets which we operate in, there is a large and growing market of Korean expatriates. With a lack of services targeted at the Korean community, we are excited to explore opportunities to meet their healthcare demands and privileged to  partner with the internationally-renowned CHA."

-- Dr. Beng Teck Liang,
CEO and Executive Director,
Singapore Medical Group

NextInsight file photo

SMG CEO and Executive Director Dr. Beng Teck Liang said: "With CHA’s reputation for world-class fertility treatments and advances in reproductive medicine, this partnership will also propel the Group up the value chain in providing our O&G patients with a more comprehensive suite of services.

"For example, the demand for procedures such as IVF has increased 
significantly due to rising maternal age, government support and medical tourism.

"This trend will continue to 
grow exponentially as technological advances improve the success rate of treatments. Leveraging on CHA’s expertise we will also explore innovative reproductive techniques such as egg freezing in the region as we elevate towards becoming a pan-Asian platform.”

Kyeong Wook Yoon, CEO of CHC, added: “We have observed SMG’s exceptional growth trajectory and believe that the Group embodies the excellence of Singapore’s healthcare industry.

"Being our inaugural investment into the Southeast Asian region, this placement represents our strong conviction about SMG’s ability to tap into new markets. We will leverage on SMG’s managerial and operational expertise to help drive a number of exciting initiatives in the region along with a pipeline of near-term projects.

"As a global leader in fertility and reproductive sciences, we have identified Southeast Asia as a market with immense potential. SMG has a strong focus on women’s health and its existing infrastructure and network will allow us to develop our Southeast Asian platform into a key hub alongside our flagship facilities in Korea and the US.” 

Following SMG’s recent foray into the Vietnamese private healthcare market, SMG will provide strategic counsel to CHC as it sets up Korean family medical clinics in Vietnam.

Additionally, the two companies 
will seek to jointly pursue the potential set up of other primary and specialised care facilities locally and in adjacent markets. 

In Singapore, both parties will work on several key initiatives, potentially including the establishment of a Korean clinic group focused on outpatient and specialist services catering to Korean and other foreign residents.

The partnership will also leverage on CHA’s extensive know-how in O&G and seek to 
establish IVF and reproductive services businesses, as well as explore other practices which could leverage CHA’s broad capabilities.

Similarly, in North Asia, SMG and CHA will cooperate towards developing a global IVF center of excellence to provide international patient care and train physicians on CHA’s technologies and practices, amongst others. Both will leverage each other’s network and expertise when exploring future investments and potentially co-invest in new projects across the region.

Maybank Kim Eng analyst John Cheong says .....

johncheong maybank9.14John Cheong Maintain BUY and TP of SGD0.59, based on a P/E of 27x FY17E EPS, the avg 2-yr fwd mean of small-cap healthcare peers in Singapore. We maintain our EPS as dilution should be temporary, we expect the proceeds to be deployed quickly for EPS accretive expansion.

If left idle, additional interest income could add c.1% to FY18 earnings.

Bigger size and track record rerating catalysts
Along with the completion of Astra Women Specialist (81m shares), this strategic placement will increase SMG’s market cap to SGD224m (based on 422m shares at SGD0.53/sh) from SGD165m, previously.

As SMG’s 
market recognition and track record increase, it could re-rate closer to the market leader, Raffles Medical, which is trading at 33x FY17E P/E.

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