Published on August 28, 2007
The two centres, which are joint ventures with local investors, are expected to start operations by the beginning of 2008.
The expansion is in line with the company's strategic move to expand its medical service network to the Middle East and Cambodia. The move is also in keeping with the recent trend of many Thai medical service companies to go abroad.
Bangkok Dusit Medical Services is a listed holding company operating 17 hospitals in Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui.
The overseas joint ventures will be managed by the company's wholly owned overseas investment arm - Asia International Healthcare. Five months ago, the company opened a 50-bed hospital in Siem Reap, Cambodia, a joint venture with a local investor to cater to tourist customers. The hospital in Siem Reap will be expanded to 100 beds in the near future.
Chatree Duang-net, chief executive officer of Bangkok Hospital Medical Centre, the group's medical service complex on New Phetchaburi Road, said the 50-bed diagnostic centres in Abu Dhabi and Phnom Penh were now under construction and will be open by the beginning of next year.
They will be positioned as five-star diagnostic centres.
"We [Bangkok Hospital Medical Centre] are now serving nearly 3,000 patients from the United Arab Emirates every month, which contributes about 14 per cent of the hospital's revenues. They are the second-largest customers after local Thais, who contribute over 65 per cent of revenues," Chatree said.
He added that many patients from the United Arab Emirates came to Bangkok Hospital for treatment of neurological diseases as well as physical therapy and rehabilitation.
He said there were only four hospitals in Abu Dhabi and the market there had a lot of
potential. All the doctors and medical specialists at the group's diagnostic centre in Abu Dhabi will be sent from Thailand.
Chatree said the joint venture in Abu Dhabi was an initial step by the group to aggressively expand its medical
service network to the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East.
The group is considering opening medical service centres in other cities in the United Arab Emirates such as Dubai, as well as in other Middle East countries.
Chatree said the diagnostic centre in Phnom Penh, a
joint venture with a local investor, would also open at the
beginning of next year.
"Our centre in Phnom Penh will be like a boutique hospital, providing check-up services, investigating diseases and offering primary treatments. It will be the centre for delivering patients to Bangkok Hospital Medical Centre in Bangkok to receive further secondary treatments if needed," said Chatree.
"We also have plans to open a 200-bed general hospital in Cambodia in the near future."
He said the group had a major stake in its overseas joint ventures in Cambodia, with 75 per cent and 70 per cent respectively of the diagnostic centres in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, while it had 30 per cent in Abu Dhabi. However, the group's major condition in all joint-venture contracts was to retain management and operational control of the centres.
Chatree said the expansion of medical centres abroad would offset the decline in local patients during this time of economic downturn and lower consumer spending.
"People are more price-conscious and willing to seek treatment in other hospitals that offer cheaper prices," said Chatree.
The hospital's revenue posted growth of 15 per cent in the first two quarters of this year, lower than the earlier target of 25 per cent set at the beginning of the year.
Bangkok Dusit Medical Services last year formed a wholly owned subsidiary - Bangkok Helicopter Services - to provide a helicopter service in transporting patients to its medical complex on New Phetchaburi Road.
"We have invested Bt500 million in a helicopter and helipad at our complex on New Phetchaburi Road, which will make us the first medical centre in Southeast Asia providing this kind of helicopter service," said Chatree.
The helicopter service will take off on October 1.