Abraaj exits Thai hospital investment

The emerging market investor has exited its second Asian healthcare investment in six months.

The Abraaj Group has exited its investment in Vejthani, a Bangkok-based hospital group, in a trade sale to Southeast Asian healthcare chain KPJ Healthcare, according to a statement from the firm. 

The firm held a 23 percent stake in the hospital, according to a spokeswoman for Abraaj, but she declined to provide further financial details of the transaction.

Abraaj invested in Vejthani in 2009. The firm helped Vejthani expand from seven specialty clinics in 2007 to 22 clinics today and increased specialist treatments to include total joint replacement, bone marrow transplants and pediatric treatment, according to the statement. 

The hospital added 80 new doctors and “raised the qualification levels of its clinical staff to better reflect its growing domestic and international clientele”.

Abraaj intended to capture the growing healthcare tourism market and helped to increase international patients from 10 percent of total patients in 2007 to 45 percent in 2011, according to the statement. It also assisted with improvements to the effectiveness of the hospital’s business management, resulting in a three-fold increase in profits.

“The success of our investment provides further validation of our conviction that quality healthcare is one of the most exciting opportunities across growth markets,” Omar Lodhi, Abraaj partner and Asia head, said in the statement.  

“The emergence of a middle class across growth markets has in our view created permanent demand for quality healthcare, which in many countries cannot be fully addressed by the public sector.”

Last year, Abraaj exited Malaysian hospital operator IHH Healthcare through a dual IPO on Bursa Malaysia and the Singapore Stock Exchange, raising about $2 billion and making it one of the largest IPOs globally in 2012.

The Abraaj Group has a current portfolio of nine hospitals around the world, including in India, the Philippines, Kenya and Nigeria, according to the statement. It has also invested in pharmaceutical and medical devices manufacturers and diagnostic service providers.  

Earlier this month, Abraaj appointed Emerging Markets Private Equity Association founding president and chief executive officer Sarah Alexander to the position of managing director, Private Equity International reported earlier.