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Villar enters health care business with 1st hospital venture

Posted on December 01, 2015 10:39:00 PM [ manilastandardtoday.com]

BILLIONAIRE Manuel B. Villar, Jr. has formalized its foray into the health care business as part of efforts to complete the services within its communities across the country.

Vitacare Healthgroup, Inc., owned by the former Senate president, is targeting to have a network of 3,000 beds across the country in the next five years, with its maiden hospital set to rise in Vista City -- Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc.’s masterplanned community in Daang Hari, Mr. Villar told reporters on Friday night.

Vitacare inked a partnership last week with a group of doctors for the development of the 100-bed Vitacare Unimed Hospital and Medical Center at a cost of P500 million.

Groundbreaking will be on Dec. 5. The project will be completed within two years from the start of construction on May 2016.

Possible areas for expansion are its Lakefront township in ParaƱaque; Balanga, Bataan; Malolos and San Jose del Monte, Bulacan; General Trias and Tanza, Cavite; Santo Tomas, Batangas; San Fernando, Pampanga; Naga, Camarines Sur; Talisay, Cebu; Davao and Cagayan de Oro.

“After building so many houses and buildings, parang maganda kumpletuhin na natin ang services (it would be good to offer complete services),” Mr. Villar said.

Apart from health care, the Villar group is ramping up the expansion of its retail, education, home improvement, and death care development and services businesses as part of its thrust to ride on the strength and vast geographical footprint of Vista Land.

In venturing into the health care business, Vitacare prefers partnerships with doctors that will run the hospital while the company provides the land and the market for it. The Villar group will take a controlling stake in those joint ventures.

“Under our program, our partner will take care of most of the cost of the hospital. We contribute the land and some cash, but essentially our partners will provide the financing for the hospitals,” Mr. Villar said.

The Villar group is the latest property firm to enter this business after Ayala Corp., which is building a chain of hospitals and satellite clinics through property arm Ayala Land, Inc. under the brand “QualiMed” in partnership with the Mercado group.

“Investment in health care facilities, in particular, enhances the sustainability of the income of the company/developer as hospital/health care is a constant need,” Claro dG. Cordero, Jr., head of research and valuation at property consultancy firm Jones Lang La Salle, said in May.

“Further, the hospital facility serves as a natural draw to attract buyers of residential condominium developments, retail/mall patrons as well as hotel guests and may well be an anchor for mixed-use developments,” Mr. Cordero added.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. owns the country’s biggest chain of hospitals, with a total capacity of around 2,600 beds. -- Krista Angela M. Montealegre           
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