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New healthcare heavyweight emerges: TMG and FV Hospital usher In new era of patient care

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In a major deal hailed as the most valuable M&A in Vietnam’s healthcare sector, FV Hospital in HCMC’s District 7 has become a member of the Singapore-based Thomson Medical Group (TMG). Beyond financial calculations, the acquisition is fueled by a shared commitment to patient-centric, accessible and high-quality medical services in Vietnam and across the region.

On January 17, a handshake between Dr. Jean-Marcel Guillon, founder of FV Hospital, and Kiat Lim, executive vice chairman of TMG, marked the official participation of FV Hospital in the extensive healthcare network of TMG. This M&A, valued at VND9,000 billion (US$381.4 million), has surpassed all previous transactions in Vietnam’s healthcare sector and stood as the largest such deal in Southeast Asia since 2020.

With wider access to advanced technologies and a regional network, joining hands with TMG promises to propel the FV Hospital’s aim of enhancing medical services. This strategic partnership has also allowed TMG to expand into Vietnam’s evolving healthcare sector.
More importantly, the deal has highlighted the potential of FV Hospital, the first wholly foreign-owned hospital in Vietnam, and the confidence that TMG has placed in the hospital’s visions in the years to come.

As stated in the event’s theme: a new chapter begins.

A historic M&A

Dr. Melvin Heng, CEO of Thomson Medical Group

Speaking at the ceremony, Melvin Heng, CEO of TMG, said, “We chose to focus on Vietnam due to its favorable policies and promising potential for economic growth. The country stands out with a conducive environment for our expansion plans in Southeast Asia.”
He mentioned an array of criteria used to evaluate medical facilities, particularly with service quality and the changing demands of patients. “As for FV, the hospital is known for its unwavering dedication to patient care, cutting edge medical technologies, and a team of extremely skilled, compassionate healthcare professionals,” Heng said.

Though both prioritize financial sustainability, TMG shares FV Hospital’s commitment to long-term growth and community impact in healthcare services, according to Dr. Guillon.

He said that the value of the M&A deal has been extensively evaluated using objective criteria, such as the management role, planned expansion, annual patient volume, and profitability.

Undoubtedly, the TMG partnership is of great significance to FV Hospital, and its achievements do not happen overnight. Established in 2003, FV Hospital currently offers medical treatments across 36 different disciplines, including ophthalmology, oncology, and cardiology. The hospital has 1,500 staff members, with more than 236 Vietnamese and international medical professionals.

Nearly 250,000 people visit FV Hospital every year, with 25% of them being expats. The hospital’s reputation has been solidified by multiple accreditations, including the coveted Joint Commission International (JCI) certification, an internationally-recognized quality and patient safety standard.

“When it comes to TMG, the Group is one of the leading listed healthcare players in the Southeast Asian region with operations in Singapore, Malaysia and now, Vietnam. Its Singapore operations boast the iconic Thomson Medical Centre and a network of close to 40 specialist medical clinics providing women and children healthcare services, diagnostic imaging, gynaecological oncology, specialist dermatology and sports medicine. In Malaysia, the Group operates a multi-disciplinary healthcare company, a tertiary hospital and an award-winning fertility centre.”

Thus, FV Hospital, emboldened by TMG’s capabilities, can expand its reach and impact on the healthcare sector. In turn, TMG may gain access to FV’s deep understanding of the Vietnamese market and its commitment to patient-centric care.

As TMG executive vice chairman Kiat Lim said, “We have so much to learn from each other. The new era that we talked about is the era where there’s a lot of collaboration.”

Mr. Kiat Lim, executive vice chairman of Thomson Medical Group

A partner for lasting impact

Beyond the headline-grabbing figures of the deal between TMG and FV Hospital, a deeper story emerges. Dr. Guillon said at the beginning, their search for potential partners was driven by a shared vision for long-term healthcare impact.

“An investment fund was not the right fit. We sought a partner aligned with our mission to elevate Vietnamese healthcare,” he stated, adding that the selection of Thomson Medical reflects this focus.

“At the end of the day, our objective is to construct a medical facility, not a financial organization. TMG aims to expand FV, enhance its development, and provide high-quality healthcare and medical services to Vietnam,” said Dr. Guillon. “This aligns perfectly with what I want.”

Under the continued leadership of Dr. Guillon and his team, FV Hospital is expected to maintain its mission for the local healthcare sector. And as Heng stated, TMG did not just acquire a hospital; the business acquired a brand and a vision.

Thomson Medical’s focus has always been on a strategic hospital group rather than a financial investor, according to Heng. Its commitment indeed goes beyond mere acquisition; it is about expanding access and raising standards.

TMG executive vice chairman Kiat Lim said Vietnam offers a skilled workforce, a government that actively supports foreign direct investment, and a flourishing pro-business environment. The country’s economic resilience in recent years has elevated it to a global hub, rather than just another potential investment destination in Southeast Asia.

TMG has expressed optimism about Vietnam’s rising middle class and the surge in medical tourism, which are making the country one of the fastest growing healthcare markets in the region. Lim stated, “This move strengthened our position in Southeast Asia, giving us access to a flourishing market and eventually providing critical inroads into neighboring countries.”

Heng said, “We found FV to be one of the closest hospitals in Vietnam that closely matches our DNA variants in healthcare.”

Through FV Hospital, TMG has gained a foothold in Vietnam, completing a trio of key Southeast Asian healthcare hubs alongside Singapore and Malaysia.

The Announcement Ceremony of FV Hospital becoming a member of Thomson Medical Group was held on January 17, 2024

A path ahead

Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan and Singapore Consul General in HCMC Roy Kho were also present at the partnership announcement between FV Hospital and TMG.

Thuan praised the partnership, saying it aligns with the ministry’s vision of bolstering private healthcare facilities and fostering public-private partnership. This serves as a key element in a larger strategic plan to elevate Vietnam’s medical infrastructure, especially increasing hospital beds and the doctor-patient ratio.

The Vietnamese Government stands ready to support such initiatives, encouraging the establishment of comprehensive medical networks across the nation.

Consul General Kho echoed this sentiment, highlighting the acquisition’s significance to Vietnam’s regional reputation. He said FV Hospital’s integration into TMG’s network demonstrates Vietnam’s growing appeal for foreign investment and underscores robust trade ties between the two nations.

In 2023, Singapore remained Vietnam’s largest foreign investor, with total pledged capital reaching US$6.8 billion, or 18.60% of Vietnam’s total foreign investment approvals, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

The CEO of TMG said the partnership between FV Hospital and TMG came at a “very critical juncture in the development of healthcare in the region.”

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, many patients prefer to seek treatment closer to home and become more demanding for service quality, rather than traveling abroad. “The good news is that hospitals will start raising the operational standards to meet the expectations of patients,” added Heng.

The two medical institutions have plans to offer new services and build new facilities in Vietnam, particularly for treatments in gastroenterology, oncology, and cardiology. Future plans involve the construction of a 10,000-square-meter outpatient care center to accommodate a growing number of patients.

Heng said, “As we move to the future, let’s not forget the paths and heritage that make us good.”

While the elevated cooperation between FV Hospital and TMG is in the early stages, FV’s and TMG’s commitment to patient-centric healthcare and their goals to the community benefits remain the bedrock of this collaboration.

Although it takes time to turn promises into reality, the benefits of this partnership remain promising. Notably, enhanced patient care, strengthened medical infrastructure, and deepened bilateral cooperation between Vietnam and Singapore may be just among the visible fruitful outcomes.

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