Hong Leong-TPG said to win bid for Columbia Asia hospital business

Visual from Columbia Asia's website

The consortium of Malaysia’s diversified conglomerate Hong Leong Group and global PE firm TPG Capital has emerged the frontrunner in the sale process of healthcare chain Columbia Asia Group in Southeast Asia, according to a report in The Edge citing unnamed sources.

Hong Leong Group, controlled by the family of tycoon Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan, is entering the healthcare business, spearheaded by the youngest son Quek Kon Sean. So far, the group has been operating in banking and financial services, property development, hospitality, manufacturing, and distribution.

The Hong Leong-TPG consortium is said to pay around $1.2 billion in cash for Columbia Asia Group’s business. The group won the sale process after a sizeable top-up to their initial bid, the report added.

Columbia Asia Group has been put for sale by its US-based holding company Columbia Pacific Management, officially since early this year. The Asian business company operates 12 hospitals in Malaysia, 11 in India, two in Vietnam and three in Indonesia.

Other bidders who were in the race for the asset include Malaysia’s Sime Darby Group, General Atlantic as well as other PE firms KKR, CVC, and Carlyle, according to a previous media report.

Founded in 1996, Columbia Asia Group raised $210 million from its investors including Japan-based Mitsui & Co. in March 2018. The company plans to have 45 hospitals and two clinics by 2025, as well as to increase the number of beds across its facilities to more than 4,000 from 2,600 beds.

In another major healthcare deal from the region, Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare Bhd acquired 31.17% of Fortis Healthcare Ltd for a $584-million valuation in January.