SINGAPORE - Singapore Press Holdings has entered the healthcare sector with the acquisition of nursing home operator Orange Valley Healthcare.
The $164 million purchase is the first step towards building a larger healthcare business focusing on aged care services, the media and property firm said on Tuesday (April 25).
Orange Valley runs five nursing homes, in Changi, Clementi, Marsiling, Simei and Sims Avenue, with over 900 beds altogether.
The company also runs meal and catering and physiotherapy and rehabilitation services. It also supplies medical, nursing and healthcare equipment and consumables.
SPH noted in a statement that the proportion of the population aged above 65 in Singapore is expected to double by 2030 to 900,000. This means one in four Singaporeans will be elderly, which will lead to strong demand for aged care services in the next decade.
As family sizes shrink, there will be a surge of single elderly living alone, it added.
This will lead to increasing demand for quality aged care services across the spectrum, from home care to community-based care to nursing homes.
SPH chief executive Alan Chan said: "Singapore has a greying population wth a need for long-term medical care. The investment gives us an opportunity to contribute to the healthcare needs of our ageing community."
With this deal signed, deputy chief executive Anthony Tan said SPH will look for further opportunities to grow its new healthcare business.
"In the local market we will continue to try to grow the business... by bidding for plots of land from the Government designated for aged care services. We may look at adjacent businesses and growing some of these, including home care rehabilitation services," he said.
SPH would also look at other acquisition opportunities in adjacent fields and expand regionally, he added, noting that there is increasing demand for aged care services in neighbouring countries too.
Orange Valley chief executive officer Dr Chan Kay Fei said he was "absolutely delighted" that a large, publicly-listed entity such as SPH had decided to get involved in the aged care services industry, as it is a sector that requires a big, credible player to address its issues holistically.
"I would say that what we have right now is an incomplete ecosystem because there are changing expectations of what a modern nursing home should be like, driven by our increasing affluence. However nursing homes here are still run on a medical model," he said.
That is, aged care services tend to be focused on treating medical conditions. As society ages, Singapore and the region needs more homes run on a more "habilitative" model, he said, which gives residents more autonomy and access to their families and the outside world.
"So we need a credible nursing home operator to present to Singapore and Asia new models of care that cater to an increasingly affluent middle class that has different expectations about aged care than previous generations," he added.