Singapore

SPH buys five aged-care homes in Japan for $66 million

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) is acquiring five aged-care assets in Japan for 5.26 billion yen (S$66 million) as it expands in markets with fast-ageing populations.

Three of the properties are in Hokkaido, with one each in Tokyo and Nara. The homes, with 365 beds in total, offer seniors independent living with community-based activities, transport and laundry, meals and care services.

Chief executive Ng Yat Chung said the move is in line with SPH's strategy of growing its recurring income base through acquisition of cash-yielding assets in defensive sectors.

Two of SPH's special purpose vehicles entered into sale and purchase agreements for the acquisition, it said in an exchange filing yesterday.

It marks SPH's first acquisition leveraging on its tie-up in October last year with asset manager Bridge C Capital to set up a fund for investing in aged-care and healthcare assets in Japan.

Asset management fees will be generated as part of the fund, eventually adding to the recurring income stream, said SPH.

The Japanese properties will continue to be managed by the existing operators on leases averaging 23.4 years.

SPH deputy chief executive Anthony Tan said the move builds on SPH's acquisition in 2017 of Orange Valley, one of Singapore's largest private nursing home operators.

SPH said data from a national research institute in Japan suggests the proportion of its elderly population (65 years and above) is projected to rise to 30 per cent by 2025. The acquisition, expected to be completed next month, will be fully paid for in cash and funded through internal and external resources.

It is not expected to have a material effect on the net tangible assets per share or earnings per share for this financial year. SPH shares closed down four cents, or 2 per cent, at $1.97 yesterday.

BUSINESS & FINANCE