Yangon. Lippo Group, one of Indonesia’s largest conglomerates, launched on Saturday its first hospital in Myanmar, as part of the group’s plan to spend $1 billion to build 20 hospitals in the country over the next three to five years.
The Mekong-river country serves as Lippo’s stepping stone in its expansion in the Southeast Asia region.
“We will build six to seven hospitals in Yangon, while the rest will be outside Yangon,” said Lippo chief executive James T. Riady, on the sidelines of inauguration of Pun Hlaing Siloam Hospital, its first joint venture hospital in Yangon, Myanmar, on Friday.
“The investment value of one hospital including the land is around $50 million,” he said.
Last year, Lippo entered a cooperation with Serge Pun & Associates (SPA) Group, a hospital developer controlled by Myanmar businessman Serge Pun. SPA Group’s Pun Hlaing Hospital was established nine years ago and specializes in neurosurgery.
Pun Hlaing Siloam Hospital is located in Pun Hlaing Golf Estate in Yangon, and has a capacity of 174 beds.
Serge Pun, SPA Group chairman, said he can see the similarity of his vision with Lippo’s in aiming to provide high-quality health services.
James said that Lippo will continue its cooperation with SPA Group in developing hospitals in Myanmar. Still, SPA Group reserves a right to invite a third party to participate in the future investment, he said.
Lippo will rely on its internal capital to fund the Myanmar expansion, James said. The banking system in Myanmar is far from being developed to finance such a large project, he said. In addition, around 200 business groups in Myanmar are still on the blacklist of American and European banks, constraining those companies’ ability to raise funding from global capital market, James said.
James said that Lippo also is setting its eyes for hospital expansion in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The group plans to enter Nepal in 12 to 18 months, James said, followed by Sri Lanka.
The hospital business spearheads Lippo’s strategy in learning regulations and licensing policy in the respective countries, before deciding to invest in other business such as shopping mall and property development, James said.
Investor Daily and the Jakarta Globe are affiliated with Lippo Group.
Source: Jakarta Globe