Metro Pacific mulls new hospital investments

By Mary Ann LL. Reyes, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 21 2012 09:28 AM | Updated as of Sep 21 2012 05:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is in talks with a number of Quezon City and Manila-based hospitals for possible acquisition or investments, as the country’s biggest hospital group continues to expand its chain.

In an interview with The STAR, MPIC hospital group president Augie Palisoc said: “We continue to talk with a number of alternatives.”

Asked when they can clinch a deal, Palisoc emphasized that “it depends on when we can complete a deal with a hospital in Quezon City and/or Manila.”

MPIC, through its hospital group, is eyeing the acquisition or management of several other hospitals in Metro Manila as well as in other parts of the country.

MPIC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan earlier told The STAR that they want to target their acquisition to 5,000 hospital beds.

He revealed that they are looking at one hospital in Manila. “We are also interested in managing or acquiring the different hospitals owned by the government such as the Philippine Heart Center, Kidney Center, Lung Center, among others, in case government decides to privatize them,” he said.

Pangilinan also said the group is particularly keen on owning or managing a hospital in Cebu.

MPIC earlier completed the acquisition of the 219-bed Asian Hospital Inc. in Alabang, Muntinlupa. The group first acquired a total of 1.094 billion common shares representing 56.5 percent of AHI’s outstanding capital stock from Bumrungrad International Ltd, Bumrungrad International Philippines Inc. and Neptune Stroika Holdings Inc., then made a tender offer for the remaining 43.5 percent.

The MPIC group now has six hospitals in its network. The group owns Makati Medical Center, and manages Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan and the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Sta. Mesa. Manila. MPIC has also invested in Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod and Davao Doctors Hospital in Mindanao.

Asian Hospital was earlier being eyed as a center for medical tourism by its former owners, but Palisoc said this is not a priority for MPIC.

“Medical tourism will be a good medium to long-term for our hospitals but this is not the priority intention. The main objective is to improve the quality of our hospitals so that they could provide good care primarily to our own countrymen,” Palisoc told The STAR.

The acquisition of the 219-bed Asian Hospital has brought to 2,109 the number of beds in the MPIC hospital network.

MPIC has earlier expressed interest in making a pitch to own or manage government hospitals, including the National Orthopedic Hospital.

MPIC is the biggest infrastructure investment firm in the country with stakes in the country’s biggest toll road firm, largest hospital group and its largest electricity and water distributors. It benefitted from higher contributions by all of its businesses. MPIC’s contribution to parent, Hongkong-based First Pacific Co., rose 35 percent in the first half of 2012 to $47.7 million from $35.4 million a year earlier.

MPIC said that its hospital business is maintaining growth, reaching towards a medium-term goal of P10 billion revenues and P1 billion core net income for 2012.