KUALA LUMPUR (June 15) : IHH Healthcare Bhd's chief said its hospitals were well equipped to handle an expected increase in Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) cases.
Managing director and chief executive officer Dr Tan See Leng said IHH hospitals are "adequately prepared" for MERS. Reuters indicated South Korea reported five new cases of MERS early on Monday, taking the total to 150. One more patient infected with the virus had died — the 16th fatality from the outbreak.
In Malaysia, Tan said: “All of our hospitals are adequately prepared in terms of the triage and isolation with regards to infection control."
“We have taken very stringent measures to ensure that patient isolation, contact tracing to temperature screening and checks are all in place,” he said at a press conference after the IHH's annual and extraordinary general meetings here today.
Tan said IHH had learned from the 2004 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak. According to him, the current head of operations at Parkway Pantai hospital in Singapore was the lead healthcare administrator in combating the SARS disease then.
IHH's website indicates the group operates 38 hospitals across ten countries, which include Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey and China.
The group's global operations involve some 7,000 beds and 25,000 employees. IHH's hospitals come under the "Mount Elizabeth", "Gleneagles", "Pantai" and "Acibadem" banners.
Today, Tan said IHH plans to add 3,000 beds over the next two years, via a combination of existing hospitals and new ones, notably in Hong Kong and Gleneagles Medini in Iskandar Malaysia.
He said IHH intended to expand via merger and acquisition (M&A).
“We are on a constant lookout for M&A opportunities, and we plan to expand through both brownfield acquisitions and greenfield investments,” said Tan.
At 3:54pm, IHH shares were traded at RM5.89, down one sen or 0.2%, with some three million shares transacted. At that price, IHH was valued at RM48.42 million.
IHH shares had risen 22% this year, outperforming the FBM KLCI's 2% decline. Malaysian government investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd is IHH's controlling shareholder, with a 43.56% stake.