TPG, Hong Leong buy Columbia Asia hospitals for US$1.2 billion

Rising incomes and ageing populations in Asia’s largest markets, China and India, have resulted in increasing demand for health care services. (Reuters pic)

HONG KONG: TPG Capital agreed to buy hospitals from Columbia Asia for US$1.2 billion with Malaysian conglomerate Hong Leong, as the global buyout firm boosts investments in companies driven by domestic consumption.

The deal includes 17 hospitals and one clinic with locations in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, according to a statement Friday.

Columbia Asia’s 11 hospitals in India aren’t part of the transaction, which is expected to close at the end of 2019. The buyers will each own 50% of the acquired assets.

The deal marks TPG’s re-entry into the hospital business in Southeast Asia, and also represents the first foray into health care for billionaire Quek Leng Chan’s Hong Leong.

Investment firm Columbia Pacific Management had been considering selling Columbia Asia for as much as US$2 billion, people familiar with the matter said in November, when Bloomberg News first reported on the sale.

Rising incomes and ageing populations in Asia’s largest markets, China and India, have resulted in increasing demand for health care services, spurring deal activities including some led by private equity firms.

A total of US$15.8 billion health-care buyouts were announced in the Asia-Pacific region in 2018, up from US$7.2 billion a year earlier, according to Bain & Co.

TPG has been active in health care and education investment in Asia.

In July, the buyout firm sold United Family Healthcare, a private health-care operator in China, in a US$1.3 billion transaction to New Frontier Corp, after exiting its investment in Cancer Treatment Services International to New York-listed Varian Medical Systems Inc in May.

TPG bought Healthscope Ltd’s Asian pathology business in 2019.

Also last year, TPG was weighing an acquisition of Vietnam Australia International School, while KKR & Co this month announced a purchase of a majority stake in EuroKids International Pvt Ltd in India.

Back in 2010, TPG sold its stake Singapore-based Parkway Holdings Ltd, then Asia’s biggest hospital operator, in a transaction that returned five times the money the private equity firm invested, a person with knowledge of the matter had said.