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Ayala Land starts health care foray

Posted on February 19, 2014 11:31:55 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]
By Claire-Ann M. C. Feliciano, Reporter

PROPERTY developer Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) and its partner Mercado General Hospital, Inc. (MGHI) will invest over P5 billion in the next five years to build hospitals and clinics across the country under a new health care brand it launched yesterday.

The joint venture introduced QualiMed through the opening of its first satellite clinic in TriNoma Mall in Quezon City. The move marks the group’s foray into health care, which ALI officials said had been the missing component in the company’s property developments until yesterday’s announcement.

“Aside from residential, shopping center, office and hotel developments, we’re incorporating a hospital component intended to complete the service offering for our mixed-use developments. The strategic intent is to be of better service to the communities we serve,” Antonino T. Aquino, Ayala Land president, told reporters in a briefing yesterday.

Mr. Aquino said more QualiMed satellite clinics will be built within Ayala properties and malls.

Specifically, the clinics will be located in Ayala Fairview Terraces in Quezon City (to open in June); Metro Point Mall in Pasay City (second quarter of 2014); UP Town Center in Quezon City; and Cebu Business Park.

David Y. San Pedro, Ayala Land head for corporate planning and international business development, said each clinic entails an investment of P20 million to P30 million.

Complementing the satellite clinics are hospitals, which would cater to a larger market, he added.

“We’re looking at around 1,000 beds in five years. So that’s 10 new hospitals within the next five years. We certainly intend to give the best service for our customers,” Mr. San Pedro said.

The joint venture will spend P500 million for each hospital that will be built, or a combined P5 billion over the next five years to cover the cost of hospital beds and other medical equipment.

Mr. Aquino said four medical buildings should be operational by the end of 2015 -- Iloilo (third quarter this year), Ayala North Point in Bacolod City (first quarter); Nuvali in Laguna (third quarter) and Altaraza in Bulacan (fourth quarter).

Six more hospitals will be built in the next five years. They will be located in Alviera in Pampanga, Balintawak in Quezon City and ARCA South in Taguig City, while the rest will be in Cavite, Cebu and Davao.

“Phase two will involve big developments. So we will launch these additional hospitals in the next five years,” Mr. Aquino said.

ALI and its partner are positioning themselves to be “one of the bigger players” in the health care industry.

“The strategy is try to make sure that were going to be present in the prime locations,” Mr. Aquino said.

MGHI President Edwin M. Mercado said QualiMed promises smoother transactions and cheaper rates.

“We will have the first health care system wherein all records will be hosted by one system. At the same time, our services will be more affordable,” he said.

“Our rates are 10% lower than premium clinics, and 30-40% lower than premium hospitals,” Mr. Mercado added.

Last year, Ayala Land marked its foray in the health care industry after it acquired Whiteknight Holdings, Inc., which owns 33% of MGHI.

The investment in health care was intended to complement Ayala Land’s real estate developments by providing medical facilities to new and existing mixed-use communities.

MGHI currently owns and operates hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers in Batangas, Cebu and Manila.

Meanwhile, Ayala Land is the property developer arm of diversified conglomerate Ayala Corp.

Ayala Land shares were last traded at P28.65 apiece, up P1.45 or 5.33% from Monday’s close.

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