B4bn expansion eyed for Bangkok Hospital
Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Plc (BGH), Thailand's largest hospital group, plans to spend 4 billion baht to expand its flagship Bangkok Hospital to tap rising demand for medical tourism among foreign patients.
Dr Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, the president and founder, said two new buildings would be added to Bangkok Hospital's compound on Soi Soonvijai in the first phase.
After those are completed in 2016, the company will move forward with the second phase in the following year, building four more buildings on the same four rai.
Dr Prasert said the new facilities would serve foreign patients, particularly from the Middle East, Europe, the US and neighbours such as Myanmar.
Two buildings with a combined 100 beds will be designed to serve Myanmar and the Middle East, while the other four will have 200 beds total reserved for Western patients.
Included with the beds will be medical equipment of developed-country quality, Dr Prasert said.
The 300 beds will be added to the group's current 5,600 beds in 32 hospitals.
Dr Prasert said Bangkok Dusit would also increase the number of hospitals under its direct umbrella to 50 by next year.
The expansion is designed to boost the competitiveness of Thai hospitals to match Singapore.
The expansion will also serve to prepare Bangkok Dusit for an Asean patient influx once regional economic integration takes place late next year.
Presently, the group services 800,000 foreign patients annually, accounting for 25% of the total.
It hopes to see more foreign patients from within this region while increasing the proportion of overall foreign patients to 30%.
"The price of medical services in Thailand remains competitive and is not as expensive as in Singapore," said Dr Prasert.
"So we believe our good services and standards — the same as with US hospitals — will attract more patient numbers from Asean members after integration," said Dr Prasert.
Bangkok Dusit has partnerships with 10 major hospitals in the US for exchanges of information, technology and doctors.
Stanford Hospital in California and Oregon Health & Science University Hospital, two of the partners, are renowned cancer facilities.
Dr Prasert said Bangkok Dusit also planned to expand its non-core business by having its Save Drug Center Co distribute medical equipment to pharmacies.
Bangkok Dusit achieved 27.7 billion baht in first-half sales, up by 10% year-on-year, and the group expects 55 billion in revenue for the full year, up from 52.4 billion in 2013.
BGH shares closed yesterday on the SET at 18.40 baht, up 10 satang, in trade worth 349 million baht.