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Ardmore Medical puts IPO plans on hold

ARDMORE Medical Group, which specialises in orthopaedic surgery, aesthetics and pain management, on Monday said it has decided to put its IPO (initial public offering) plans on hold in view of "ongoing developments to its business" and the "current market conditions and geopolitical climate".

The decision was made following discussions with its advisers and after "due and careful deliberation", the company said. 

Ardmore Medical lodged its draft prospectus for an IPO listing on the Catalist board on June 28. 

BT previously reported that investors should study the risk factors listed in Ardmore's offer document before they take a punt. One key concern relates to the death of a patient under the care of founder and chief executive Sean Ng. Dr Ng accounts for 42.9 per cent of group revenue, and his profit contribution is in the same range.

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In November 2016, the patient died after a total knee replacement procedure performed by Dr Ng at a local hospital resulted in a surgical complication. 

Very rarely do knee surgeries result in death, and an inquiry by the Coroner's Court is still ongoing. The hospital conducted its own internal inquiry as well, following which it suspended Dr Ng from admitting and operating on patients in its premises for eight months. Dr Ng was still able to see patients at his private clinic at the hospital during this period, but had to perform operations elsewhere.

The hospital also lodged a complaint with the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) against Dr Ng in May 2017 for insufficient documentation and medical assessment, including making certain retrospective entries, among other things. The medical watchdog has since convened a Complaints Committee to investigate the complaint. SMC probes are notoriously slow-moving, and if the case is escalated to a Disciplinary Tribunal, it could take years before a verdict is reached, BT noted. 

In its media statement on Monday, Ardmore Medical added that the group remains optimistic about its expansion and diversification plans. 

"We are confident in our prospects and potential given that our business is fundamentally strong with grounded plans in place which are in the process of execution. We remain committed to delivering results that will bring a good value proposition to our investors should we decide to tap the capital markets," the company said.