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Friday, September 19, 2008

Berjaya in venture to build Hanoi hospital

BERJAYA Corp Bhd plans to build a specialist hospital in Hanoi together with its associated company TMC Life Sciences Bhd and a local Vietnam construction firm.

Spending on the 300 to 500-bed hospital may range from US$50 million (RM172.5 million) to US$100 million (RM345 million), executives of the companies said.

The plan, however, depends on a feasibility study that could stretch to one year, they said. Construction itself should take another two to three years and several phases before full completion.

"The feasibility study is expected to start next month," TMC managing director Dr Colin Lee said after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the project in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

LEE: Feasibility study expected to start next month

Under the pact, BCorp is to own half of a possible joint venture company with a capital of US$30 million (RM103.5 million). TMC and Viet Ha Corp will hold 30 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

The potential venture will mark BCorp's return to the hospital business, although it will indirectly operate one soon via 27.41 per cent-owned TMC.

BCorp used to own Pantai Holdings but sold its stake in the owner of the Pantai Medical Centre chain about 10 years ago.

TMC is poised to open Tropicana Medical Centre in Kota Damansara by the year-end. It will have 52 specialist clinics and 180 in-patient and day-care beds.

"There is an increase in demand for quality healthcare and medical services in line with the higher standard of living in Vietnam," BCorp chairman and chief executive officer Tan Sri Vincent Tan said in a statement.

"The increase in demand would be significant with Vietnam's large population base of 86 million," Tan added.

BCorp already has various ongoing projects in Vietnam. Through Berjaya Land Bhd, BCorp had received the nod to undertake four property projects there valued at over RM30 billion.

Dr Lee is also bullish about the joint venture's prospect, despite the current uncertainties in the global economy.

"Vietnam is regarded as one of the emerging economies in the region, with gross domestic product growth of 6.5 per cent in the first half, in addition to the rising income level," he said.

By New Straits Times (by Zuraimi Abdullah)

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