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Malaysia's Asian Healthcare Group seeks US$219m IPO

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's Asian Healthcare Group Bhd said it plans to raise up to 750 million ringgit (S$286 million) with a special purpose acquisition vehicle (SPAC) to tap rising demand for private healthcare from Asia's burgeoning middle class.

A SPAC is a shell company with no assets, set up with the intention of buying firms, usually within 3 years of listing, that later will be folded into the business.

The healthcare SPAC will use at least 95 per cent of funds raised from the IPO to acquire at least one hospital providing secondary or tertiary care with a capacity of 100 to 500 beds, according to its draft prospectus filed with the Securities Commission on Tuesday.

Asian Healthcare Group, led by former banker Yvonne Chia, said it planned to capitalise on Malaysia's growing middle class and high-income earners, the medical tourism sector and strong demand for private healthcare providers.

The company intends to retain Malaysia as its focus for the first few years, before looking for partners to venture into Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

Chia also holds director positions in Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd and Shell Malaysia, and previously led RHB Bank Bhd and Hong Leong Bank Bhd.

Other directors include Chevy Beh, an executive director for BP Healthcare until Oct. 2014, and Jegathesan Vasagam, a consultant for the diagnostics-to-laboratory medical group.

Asian Healthcare Group will offer 80 per cent of its shares on the open market, while the remainder will be held by Chia, Beh and Negrita Holdings - a company in which Beh is the majority shareholder.