Thonburi Hospital Group (THG), owned and chaired by property tycoon Boon Vanasin, plans to expand its presence aggressively in Burma by investing 5 billion baht (US$165 million) over five years to build three hospitals and clinics nationwide.
The group yesterday signed an agreement with Burma’s Aung Shwe Three International (AST) Group for joint development of a 150-bed hospital in Rangoon at a cost of 1 billion baht. THG owns 51 percent of the project, with the rest belonging to the Burmese partner.
The alliance plans to develop two more hospitals, one in Mandalay and the other in Hlaing Thar Yar Industrial Zone near Rangoon. More clinics will be built across Burma to cash in on the booming economy and investments bound for Burma, Mr Boon said.
“With average GDP growth of 6-7 percent, exceeding that of Thailand, I think opportunity in Myanmar [Burma] is greater than in other ASEAN members,” he said.
Mr Boon said the first hospital, to be located in central Rangoon, was projected to begin construction in December and take 18 months to complete. The German government-owned development bank KfW has agreed to provide 60 percent of project financing for the project cost, with the other 40 percent equity.
The two partners have also agreed to study a much bigger second hospital in Mandalay covering a total area of 50 rai. The third one will be in an industrial estate in Htantabin, which is 10 km from Rangoon, said AST managing director Aung Kyi Soe.
He said the Burmese group currently operated a 50-bed hospital in Rangoon, with other businesses including real estate, construction and trading.
Mr Boon said THG targets opening 10 clinics this year — five in Rangoon, three in Mandalay and two in other areas — to accommodate up to 500 outpatients. Within five years, 30-40 clinics will be open nationwide.
At present, THG operates 20 hospitals in Thailand including 17 in Bangkok. It has three more in China.
This article was originally published in the Bangkok Post on 24 June 2014.