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Bumrungrad Hospital and Bangkok Chain Hospital Partnership By Siripong and Bewer
Hospital linkup targets all segmentsBy Siriporn ChanjindamaneeThe NationPublished on March 22, 2011Bumrungrad Hospital and Bangkok Chain Hospital expect to cover all healthcare markets with their new partnership.Last week Land & Houses (L&H) told the Stock Exchange of Thailand that it sold 415.6 million shares, or 24.99 per cent, of Bangkok Chain Hospital to Bumrungrad Hospital on March 18 Friday, at the price of Bt8.50 per share, or more than Bt3.5 billion in total.Sinn Anuras, group medical director for Bumrungrad, said yesterday that the talks to buy the stake took two weeks. Many groups were interested but L&H decided to sell to Bumrungrad.Chalerm Harnphanich, executive chairman of Bangkok Chain Hospital, had recommended to L&H that if it wanted to sell, it should sell to Bumrungrad. Then L&H proposed the deal to Chai Sophonpanich, a major shareholder of Bumrungrad.Sinn said Bumrungrad had no plan to acquire more shares in Bangkok Chain Hospital, no policy to merge the two and no plan to take it over. Both hospitals want to make it a friendly relationship that would let them both serve high and lowend segments.Bumrungrad, which caters to premium patients, had planned to build a brand to expand to the middle and lowend segments, but now it can use the Bangkok Chain Hospital brand to tap the two segments, he said.Chalerm said the partnership reflected their common goal to appeal to the whole market and both were confident that they could leverage their strengths to achieve the goal.Bangkok Chain Hospital has six branches nationwide, while Bumrungrad counts 1.1 million patients from 190 countries worldwide. It has 538 beds, 30 specialised medical centres, more than 1,200 doctors and 900 nurses.L&H wanted to dispose of its Bangkok Chain Hospital holding, as the company did not fit its core business, Chalerm said.At the moment there is no plan to merge operations. Soon they will discuss a collaboration framework and the picture will become clearer after next month, he said.There is no plan to swap shares at this time and the move to forge the partnership was not forced by market competition.He dismissed the rumour that Bangkok Dusit Medical Service was interested in Bangkok Chain Hospital and might purchase its shares in the stock market, saying that more than 46 per cent of Bangkok Chain Hospital shares were family owned. Combined with the 25 per cent controlled by Bumrungrad, the total is 70 per cent. If someone acquired the remaining shares, it would not affect the management of Bangkok Chain Hospital, he added.According to Bangkok Chain Hospital's filing yesterday, Bumrungrad has become the secondlargest shareholder behind the Harnphanich family.Kiatnakin Securities said in a note that Bumrungrad teamed up with Bangkok Chain Hospital because it wanted to defend the market after Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, the operator of Bangkok and Samitivej hospitals, took over Health Network, the largest shareholder of Prasit Patana, which owns Phya Thai Group and Paolo Group.The deal with Bumrungrad is expected to benefit Bangkok Chain Hospital because of the potential services of Bumrungrad. The partnership will attract more business to Bangkok Chain Hospital, especially to World Medical Centre, which it will open next year.