The Nation



Singapore's GIC to buy US$84m stake in Philippine hospital group

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC will buy a minority stake in a company that operates top hospitals in the Philippines for US$84 million (Bt2.7 billion), both firms said yesterday.

A joint statement said GIC's investment would give it a 14.4-per-cent stake in Neptune Stroika Holdings, the hospital holding company of Philippine conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

Neptune Stroika runs eight hospitals in the Philippines, including the Makati Medical Centre, Asian Hospital and Cardinal Santos Medical Centre, which are favoured by the country's elite.

GIC also subscribed to bonds worth 6.5 billion pesos (Bt4.8 billion) that could be exchanged for a further 25.5 per cent in Neptune Stroika in the future under certain conditions.

Metro Pacific will use the bond proceeds to invest in its other businesses such as roads, power and water, the statement said.

GIC's hospital venture comes two weeks after it announced a US$77-million investment in the parent company of Philippine canned-food producer Century Pacific Food as it seeks to boost its presence in the sprawling archipelago of 100 million people.

The Philippine economy grew 7.2 per cent last year - one of the fastest rates in Asia.

GIC, previously known as the Government of Singapore Investment Corp, manages more than US$100 billion of the city-state's foreign reserves.

Among its latest investments, GIC this month bought a stake in Brazilian online sporting-goods retailer Netshoes.

Last December, it bought a 50-per-cent stake in a major London office complex, which press reports said was worth around 1.7 billion pounds (Bt93 billion), while in January it partnered with a group of investors to buy US$1.3 billion worth of office space in Manhattan, New York, from Time Warner.

The US-based Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute names GIC as among the world's top 10 biggest sovereign wealth funds, in a list that also includes Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings.

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