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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

More hospitals for REIT

JOHOR BARU: KPJ Healthcare Bhd will continue to inject properties, including overseas hospitals, into its Al-’Alqar KPJ REIT.

However, it was not setting any time frame to do so, said chairman Tan Sri Muhammad Ali Hashim.

KPJ Healthcare currently owns and manages 17 hospitals nationwide and six overseas – three in Indonesia, one in Bangladesh and two in Saudi Arabia.

The world's first Islamic REIT, the Al-’Alqar KPJ REIT invests in healthcare and related properties, primarily hospital buildings. It owns a composition of investment worth RM481mil, including Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital, Damansara Specialist Hospital, Johor Specialist Hospital, Ipoh Specialist Hospital, Selangor Medical Centre and Puteri Specialist.

KPJ Healthcare had proposed to dispose of five hospital buildings to the Al-’Alqar KPJ REIT for RM170.04mil, comprising RM85.76mil cash and the issuance of 88,721 new units in the former at an issue price of 95 sen per unit.

Datin Paduka Siti Sa’diah Sheikh Bakir and Tan Sri Muhammad Ali Hashim at the Al-’Alqar KPJ REIT’s EGM

Shareholders at KPJ Healthcare and Al-’Alqar KPJ REIT EGMs approved the proposal, paving the way for Perdana Specialist Hospital, Kuantan Specialist Hospital, Sentosa Medical Centre, KPJ Kajang Specialist Hospital and Kedah Medical Centre to be injected into the REIT by year-end.

“With the exercise, the company will be able to focus on its core activities of managing hospital services,” Ali told a press conference after the EGMs yesterday.

Ali said funds raised from the sale to the REIT would be used for other investments and to reduce borrowings.

He said the company would continue to look at REITs as part of its expansion programme to unlock the true value of its properties.

“There will be a continuous injection of properties, including overseas hospitals, but we are not setting any time frame,” Ali added.

Meanwhile, KPJ Healthcare managing director Datin Paduka Siti Sa’diah Sheikh Bakir said there were many invitations by various parties to manage and own hospitals overseas and the company was open to any opportunities.

The company’s nursing college branch at Metropolis Tower in Johor Baru would have its first intake of some 100 students in January, she said, adding that the branch was important as it would cater to the health service sector, which was one of the key sectors in the Iskandar Development Region.

Sa’diah said that as the first private nursing college in Johor, it had the potential to cater to student nurses from Indonesia as well.

By The Star (By Zazali Musa)

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