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Malaysia's Vista Eye to raise $30m to finance expansion

Eyecare chain to acquire local clinics struggling amid coronavirus pandemic

Many private eye clinics in Malaysia are struggling to continue their operations amid the coronavirus pandemic.    © Reuters

SINGAPORE/JAKARTA -- Malaysia-based private eyecare chain Vista Eye Specialist is looking to raise $20-30 million to finance its expansion plans, which include acquisition of local clinics, three sources told DealStreetAsia. 

The company, which was set up in 1999, is owned and founded by local entrepreneur Lim Boon Siong. The company's other shareholders include doctors associated with the chain, said one of the sources.

The shareholders intend to dilute their ownership by up to 49% to support Vista Eye's growth plans. The eyecare chain is raising equity capital as opposed to debt to meet the acquisition financing costs. 

Vista Eye's shareholders have engaged a financial adviser but the fundraising process has not yet officially begun, the sources said.

The company did not respond to a DealStreetAsia query seeking comment. 

Vista Eye's annual revenue is in the region of $10 million and its enterprise valuation is nearly $30 million, according to sources.

The company is actively looking at acquisition opportunities that have come up amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has left many private eye clinics struggling to continue their operations. It is not immediately clear how many clinics Vista Eye is looking to acquire as part of the growth plan. The company, which specializes in cataract and refractive surgeries. currently operates 10 branches across Malaysia, according to its website. 

In a consolidation deal in the single-specialty healthcare clinic space in the region, Clearbridge Health Limited acquired nine dental clinics under the brand Dental Focus, in Singapore in August last year.

The eyecare specialty field has seen a lot of investor interest in Asia. Among prominent deals, Singapore's state-owned investment company Temasek Holdings, through its arm Temasek Fullerton Alpha, and private equity firm Hillhouse Capital, acquired a 1% stake each in China's Aier Eye Hospital Group worth about 1.9 billion yuan ($267.88 million) in September 2019.

At the end of 2019, Indian eyecare chain Dr Agarwal's Health Care raised about $30 million in debt funding from the U.K. government's development finance arm CDC Group.

In May 2019, Mahindra Partners, the corporate investment arm of the Mahindra Group, acquired a stake in New Delhi-based eye care chain Centre for Sight for 2.06 billion rupees ($27 million) from early investor Matrix Partners.

For the original story from DealStreetAsia, click here.

DealStreetAsia is a financial news site based in Singapore that focuses on corporate investment activity in Southeast Asia and India. Nikkei recently announced the acquisition of a majority stake in the company.

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