Econ Healthcare now fully owned by founder

The founder of elderly care provider Econ Healthcare has bought back all the shares of the firm, ending his partnership with European private equity fund group EQT.

An announcement by the two parties yesterday noted that Mr Ong Chu Poh, who founded Econ Healthcare in 1987, has bought back the 49 per cent stake in the company from the EQT Greater China II fund.

The deal, signed and closed yesterday for an undisclosed amount, gave Mr Ong - who already owned the remaining 51 per cent stake - full control over Econ Healthcare.

The firm is one of the main elderly care companies in the region, with nine care centres and nursing homes in Singapore and two in Malaysia. Other assets include the West Point Hospital, a wellness centre chain and a care skill training centre.

Originally listed on the Catalist board, Econ Healthcare was privatised in 2012 by Mr Ong and EQT.

The deal, signed and closed yesterday for an undisclosed amount, gave Mr Ong - who already owned the remaining 51 per cent stake - full control over Econ Healthcare.

Since then, it has expanded further into Malaysia while maintaining its leading market position in Singapore, Mr Ong said in the announcement.

"Econ Healthcare appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with EQT during the past four years. The journey together has given us the exposure in working with one of Europe's leading global private equity groups," he added.

EQT has about €30 billion (S$45 billion) of raised capital across portfolio companies in Asia, Europe and the US. These entities boast a combined turnover of over €15 billion and staff strength of about 100,000.

After this transaction, Econ Healthcare will be "embarking on its next phase of growth through a stronger Singaporean core and Asia Pacific focus", the announcement said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2016, with the headline 'Econ Healthcare now fully owned by founder'. Print Edition | Subscribe