Business

IHH Healthcare eyes China expansion

SHANGHAI: Hospital operator IHH Healthcare is looking to expand its operations in China and is open to potential deals to help it grow its presence in the market, its chief executive said yesterday.

The world's second-largest healthcare group by market capitalisation has ample cash to fund deals in the country and beyond, helping it tap the "enormous" fast-growing Chinese healthcare demand, CEO Tan See Leng said in Shanghai.

"Greater China is our key growth market and we are committed to significantly expanding our presence here," he said after the firm broke ground for the 1.36 billion yuan (S$277 million), 450-bed Gleneagles Shanghai Hospital.

"We are actually sitting on quite a lot of cash and our gearing is actually very low, so we have the ability to do fairly sizeable M&As," he added when asked about looking for deals in China.

China's healthcare market is a magnet for firms, from medical device makers to private hospital operators, especially as Beijing looks for help from the private sector to rein in a healthcare bill likely to hit US$1 trillion (S$1.38 trillion) by 2020.

IHH's Greater China CEO Paul Gregersen said an ageing population and rising incomes were driving demand for healthcare services, creating the need for more private care. - REUTERS

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