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Malaysia Sime Darby said to mull health care unit spinoff in Malaysia

[KUALA LUMPUR] Sime Darby Bhd, one of Malaysia's oldest conglomerates, is weighing a separate listing for its health care unit that could raise at least 500 million ringgit (S$164 million), according to the people familiar with the matter.

The company has held discussions with potential advisers for an initial public offering of Ramsay Sime Darby Health Care Sdn, the people said. A listing on Malaysia's stock exchange could happen as early as 2021, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Sime Darby jointly owns the health care unit with Australia's largest private hospital operator Ramsay Health Care Ltd.

Deliberations are at an early stage and details of the offering including size and timeline could still change, the people said. A representative for Sime Darby declined to comment, adding it will make announcements when necessary. A representative for Ramsay Health Care said they have no comment.

Spinning off businesses is not new to Sime Darby. The Malaysian conglomerate listed its plantation and property arms in 2017. Sime Darby has climbed about 8.7 per cent in Kuala Lumpur this year, giving it a market value of about US$4 billion. Sime Darby was looking to spend 1 billion ringgit each year on acquisitions and organic growth with a focus to expand its business of selling luxury cars as well as health cares services, its Chief Executive Officer Jeffri Salim Davidson said last November.

Ramsay Sime Darby Health Care was founded in 2013 when Sime Darby and Ramsay Health combined several hospitals in Southeast Asia. It runs six premium hospitals in Malaysia and Indonesia as well as a day surgery facility in Hong Kong, according to Sime Darby's annual report.

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Net income of Sime Darby's health care business fell about 20 per cent to 39 million ringgit in its fiscal year ended June 30, from 49 million ringgit a year ago, due to a drop in patient volume because of the pandemic as well as one-off impairments.

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