The Ayala conglomerate has gained control of the Qualimed chain of hospitals and clinics by buying most of the stake held by the Mercado group, expanding its footprint in the healthcare sector amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.
Ayala Healthcare Holdings Inc. (AC Health) through Healthway Philippines Inc. signed a deal to acquire a 54.2-percent interest in Mercado General Hospital Inc. (MGHI), the holding company of the Qualimed healthcare network of hospitals and clinics, from Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) and the Mercado group.
Furthermore, Healthway will subscribe to 38,250,000 cumulative, redeemable, and non-participating preferred shares of ALI subsidiary White Knight Holdings Inc. and Mercado Group, or equivalent to 34.51 percent of the outstanding capital stock of shares of MGHI. This will bring Healthway’s voting interest in MGHI to 70 percent.
ALI and the Mercado group, which formed the hospital venture in 2013, indicated plans to jointly unload their interest as early as two years ago. It was earlier reported the Mercado group was no longer keen to lead this capital-intensive venture.
AC Health had long expressed interest to take on the business, which it said was in line with its expanding healthcare network.
For ALI, meanwhile, its primary purpose of investing in hospitals was to complete the amenities in its mixed-use estates. This divestment would now allow the property developer to “redeploy capital and focus on its core businesses,” the disclosure said.
The Qualimed Health Network includes four hospitals: Qualimed Sta. Rosa located in Nuvali, Qualimed San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan, Qualimed Iloilo in Iloilo City, and Daniel O. Mercado Medical Center in Tanauan, Batangas. In addition, Qualimed also operates an ambulatory surgical center in UP-PGH, and has clinics in Makati, Quezon City and in Cebu IT Park.
With AC Health taking over the combined interest of ALI and the Mercado group, it is poised to expand its hospital and clinic portfolio that was earlier consolidated under the Healthway brand.
AC Health now has four general hospitals, more than 85 outpatient clinics and about 80 corporate clinics. It would also build the country’s first cancer specialty hospital.
“We have always believed in Qualimed’s vision to deliver accessible and affordable health care to Filipinos. Over the past few years, we have built a strong partnership between Qualimed and Ayala Land and we are delighted to integrate Qualimed into AC Health’s growing portfolio. The COVID-19 pandemic has renewed the Ayala Group’s commitment to invest in health care, and with this investment, we will be better positioned to provide much-needed health care services for the country,” AC Health chair Fernando Zobel de Ayala said.
The transactions would be consummated after conditions agreed upon by the parties are met.
“With the addition of the Qualimed Health Network, AC Health now completes the entire continuum of patient care, from primary clinics, multispecialty care and now to hospital care. We have taken a deliberate approach to building up our healthcare ecosystem, with the goal of delivering an integrated patient experience for more Filipinos,” said AC Health president and CEO Paolo Borromeo.
“During this pandemic, our partnership with AC Health to upgrade our hospitals and to build our COVID-19 labs has been pivotal, allowing us to serve thousands of patients across our network. It is this collaborative spirit that will ensure Qualimed’s continued growth during these challenging times,” said Edwin Mercado, president and CEO of Qualimed Health Network.
The Mercado family and other minority individual shareholders would still own the remaining 30 percent of the Qualimed network. INQ
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