WHA records foreign interest in medical services

WHA records foreign interest in medical services

Ms Jareeporn says Chinese firms are keen on the EEC. SOMCHAI POOMLARD
Ms Jareeporn says Chinese firms are keen on the EEC. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

SET-listed WHA Corporation Plc is in talks with Chinese investors in medical services and equipment to attract them to the government's flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme.

Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, chairman and chief executive of WHA, said Southeast Asia is a popular destination for Chinese companies to expand in the medical and wellness sector as the region has great potential with a population over 600 million.

"Chinese companies have their own innovation and technology for this sector, which matches the Thai government's policy to promote S-curve industries in the Eastern Economic Corridor [EEC]," she said.

"They are interested in investing in medical services and equipment, with some companies expanding their business to organ transport or R&D units to support new medical and health trends in Southeast Asia."

Ms Jareeporn said WHA expects these investors will decide soon on whether to buy industrial land after seeing the potential of the EEC.

Japanese companies are also interested in the medical and wellness sector to better deal with the ageing society trend happening both in Japan and Thailand.

South Korea wants to invest in a robotics and automation sector in the EEC, she said.

WHA has nine industrial estates operated by WHA Industrial Development (WHA ID), the group's subsidiary, and all nine have been approved to become special industrial zones by the EEC management committee.

The nine estates are located in two EEC provinces -- Chon Buri and Rayong -- spanning 34,434 rai. She said those nine locations will be instrumental in upgrading S-curve industries in the corridor.

WHA ID was previously known as Hemaraj Land and Development.

"The EEC Act and the government's ambitious plan have built up foreign investor confidence, as has the road map for a general election next year," said Ms Jareeporn.

WHA projects investment flows in the EEC will rise significantly from the second half next year.

She said WHA has 10,000 rai of developed plots to welcome all 11 targeted industries under the S-curve policy.

WHA reported first-half revenue from all subsidiaries of 5.47 billion baht, up 14.6% year-on-year. Net profit for the period rose 3% to 1.08 billion baht, whereas profit from normal operations, excluding accounting implications of currency exchange, was 1.13 billion, up 38%.

WHA forecasts 2018 revenue to grow by 25%, with land sales of 1,400 rai.

Last year, WHA posted revenue of 12.4 billion baht, down 35.8% year-on-year.

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