Singapore-based Novena Global Lifecare goes for US$150m Taiwan IPO

Former investment bankers Terence Loh (left) and Nelson Loh are cousins who co-founded Novena Global Lifecare Group in 2010.
Former investment bankers Terence Loh (left) and Nelson Loh are cousins who co-founded Novena Global Lifecare Group in 2010.ST PHOTO: FILE

SINGAPORE - Novena Global Lifecare Group plans to list on the Taiwan Stock Exchange and raise US$150 million (S$203.7 million) for its regional expansion, it said on Monday (July 31).

The medical aesthetic chain will be the fourth Singapore-based healthcare-related firm this year with plans to list outside of the country.

The other three are Aslan Pharmaceuticals, a Singapore-based biotechnology company; Tessa Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company; and CellResearch Corporation, a biotechnology firm specialising in stem cell research.

Novena is the largest medical aesthetic chain in Singapore, with 15 clinics and a database of over 150,000 patients. It currently has more than 100 clinics across Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, India and Malaysia; and over two million patients in its global patient database.

Founded six years ago by former investment bankers Nelson and Terence Loh, it is the only Singapore medical aesthetic chain with its own research and development and manufacturing arm based in South Korea. Its clinics carry brands such as NOVU, P Clinic, Chelsea and Gangnam, and also offer stem cell treatments, skin and body care products.

In Taiwan, Novena has acquired a majority stake in Hexin, a provider of health screening services which has outsourced the management of these services in their three hospitals to Novena. Novena believes there is a large market for such services as healthcare screening for employees is mandated by law in Taiwan.

Novena also plans to further develop predictive care through DNA testing with its partnership with another Taiwanese company, Health GeneTech, it said in its IPO announcement on Monday. It will also work with universities and regional labs in Taiwan, Korea, India and Hong Kong to develop a database on Asian genetics for predictive developmental and healthcare management.

The group is in talks with a Taiwanese company to develop a maternity care centre as it sees a growing market for post-natal care and anti-aging treatments in Singapore.

Plans are also afoot to convert Novena Gardens into a tertiary medical centre, offering services including an anti-aging centre and medical serviced apartments for patients.

Mr Nelson Loh, executive chairman and co-founder of Novena, said: "We believe we have a very scalable business model to support our growth plans. Going by trends in the more developed markets of Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea, we see huge potential in China and some of the emerging economies for healthcare services."

With rising disposable incomes of Asia's middle class boosting demand for medical healthcare and aesthetic services and products, the company expects sales to double in the coming years, Mr Loh added. Group revenue currently stands at US$50 million.

Statistics from the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight show that the Asian beauty and personal care market will grow from US$150 billion to US$170 billion by 2019.