Current packages will be honoured: PPP Laser Clinics

On Tuesday, PPP's website showed that its Dhoby Ghaut clinic opened for only an hour and its Marine Parade outlet for two. Over the last six months, eight of its 14 clinics closed suddenly. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
On Tuesday, PPP's website showed that its Dhoby Ghaut clinic opened for only an hour and its Marine Parade outlet for two. Over the last six months, eight of its 14 clinics closed suddenly. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Board says chain in healthy financial position, allaying concerns following founder's quitting

A local chain of beauty clinics, which closed a string of outlets and shortened opening hours, has said it will honour packages that its customers have bought.

Fears were raised for PPP Laser Clinics on Tuesday, when Dr Goh Seng Heng quit as director of Aesthetic Medical Partners (AMP) and Aesthetic Medical Holdings - the two companies that operate it.

The five-year-old chain runs 14 Singapore outlets that use laser and light technology to treat skin problems such as pimples.

Dr Goh said his departure was down to internal disputes and the company being "driven by the wrong values".

But PPP's board told The Straits Times yesterday it has "no plans to retrench staff and will continue to honour" pre-paid packages. It also claimed Dr Goh was responsible for closing the clinics, but now he has departed, it hopes to extend hours, hire more doctors and "reopen as many clinics closed by Dr Goh as possible". It said it reopened three yesterday and is "in a healthy financial position".

PPP has filed a lawsuit against Dr Goh and his daughter Michelle Goh, seeking injunctions for the preservation of its assets and interests.

On Tuesday, PPP's website showed that its Dhoby Ghaut clinic opened for only an hour and its Marine Parade outlet for two. Over the last six months, eight of its 14 clinics closed suddenly.

As of Tuesday, the Consumers Association of Singapore has had 14 complaints about the changes.

Operating hours at the clinics have always varied, but never been as short as an hour, customers said.

Branches have been facing long queues, a problem exacerbated by the fact that customers tend to go for repeated treatments in a day.

"The consultant said I should do at least two treatments a day, preferably four times, but how to, when waiting times are so long?" said an admin clerk, 56, who wanted to be known only as Madam Chng.

Travel agent Linda Gan, 48, who queued for almost three hours at its Bishan outlet on Monday, paid around $1,500 for a one-year package. "I don't care who's the boss, as long as the clinics are still open and I can use my package," she said.

Dr Goh, who also operates an aesthetics clinic in Paragon Medical, launched PPP with his daughter in 2011 - describing it as the "budget airline" of aesthetic clinics, as it provides only one type of treatment meant for normal or mildly-problematic skin.

In a statement on Tuesday, he said the Gohs began transferring PPP shares to private investors in 2013, in a bid to open clinics globally. Partners included Rock Star Partners (RSP) Investments, a private equity investment fund in Shanghai, and Ms Wang Xiaopu, owner of China skincare brand Marubi.

Early last year, the Gohs began to disagree with how some partners and investors ran the business.

Dr Goh, a Singaporean, claimed they registered the PPP trademarks in China without his knowledge and took equipment from the clinics without paying for them. The Chinese clinics were also "selling skincare products that had no scientific basis".

After he confronted the parties involved, RSP called an extraordinary general meeting, which resulted in Dr Michelle Goh quitting last June. Another such meeting is due to be held today to appoint a second director from RSP. This prompted the senior Dr Goh's resignation.

The Gohs own about 12 per cent of AMP. Dr Goh said he lost control of the firm last June and had "little choice" but to resign, adding: "the Goh family will no longer be involved in overseeing business operations of PPP Laser Clinics".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2016, with the headline 'Current packages will be honoured: PPP Laser Clinics'. Print Edition | Subscribe