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Asia300

Raffles Medical counts on healthy demand in graying Singapore

Home market remains 'main focus' as group pushes into China and elsewhere

The RafflesConnect telemedicine platform will initially be available in Singapore, but the company plans to expand it to China later this year.

SINGAPORE -- Raffles Medical Group is strengthening its health care businesses in Singapore in response to the city-state's rapidly aging population and the rising prevalence of chronic ailments.

"We see that there's demand for quality health care in Singapore," Goh Ann Nee, the company's chief financial officer, said at an earnings conference on Monday. "Singapore continues to be our main focus and we will continue to grow our market share locally."

In January, the company started a five-year partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Agency for Integrated Care to help Singaporeans and permanent residents better manage chronic conditions. It is also refurbishing its hospital to increase inpatient capacity and expand outpatient primary care centers.

At the same time, the company is pushing services geared toward travelers. This year, the ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore awarded Raffles an air borders screening contract. This entails temperature screening and surveillance of infectious diseases at Changi and Seletar airports.

To attract more patients to Singapore, Raffles has also opened two additional clinics at Changi Airport's new Terminal 4, on top of the six clinics already operating at the airport. Patients will be able to receive medical advice on the spot, as well as make appointments for travel vaccinations and health screenings. Raffles has been the airport's designated medical group since 1990.

Meanwhile, Raffles is seeking overseas growth opportunities as well. In China, the company is building hospitals in Chongqing and Shanghai, which are scheduled to open by the second halves of 2018 and 2019, respectively. It has also expanded its medical facilities in Japan, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Raffles posted a 1.7% rise in net profit to 15.8 million Singapore dollars ($11.9 million) for the first quarter ended March 31, mainly thanks to stronger growth in the number of local patients using its health care and hospital services. It logged revenue of S$120.1 million for the quarter, a 4.6% increase from a year earlier.

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