The Albedo Group plans to acquire a leading Taiwanese medical firm in a bid to diversify from the slumping metal trading sector.
It has proposed buying 51 per cent of China iMyth for $18.9 million from China Medical Investments, which has interests in health services in Taiwan and China.
The remaining 49 per cent of China iMyth will remain with Dr Louis Chung Yih-chen, an expert in plastic surgery and the firm's managing director.
China iMyth focuses on aesthetic medicine, with minimally invasive and non-invasive aesthetic procedures accounting for the bulk of the company's business.
These procedures include botox, laser treatment and liposuction.
The proposed acquisition, which is subject to due diligence and regulatory and shareholder approval, is expected to be completed in December.
Albedo, which undertakes metal trading and supplies industrial and engineering raw materials to the iron and steel industry in the Asia-Pacific, will pay for the deal through $12 million in cash and the issue of 550 million consideration shares at 1.25 cents apiece.
Albedo chief executive Tai Kok Chuan said yesterday: "We are very excited with the potential of the medical aesthetic business, particularly in China, where there is strong demand but a scarcity of doctors trained in this area."
China's medical sector is booming, with estimates that total expenditure will grow from US$357 billion (S$502 billion) in 2011 to US$1 trillion by 2020, driven by rapid urbanisation, favourable regulatory changes and an ageing population.
Rising affluence in China has also led to a growing social acceptance of medical aesthetic treatments.
"China's market for medical aesthetics is growing at a double-digit rate every year and we plan to open up to three clinics there in the next three years," said Dr Chung. The new clinics, which will be built in Qingdao and Xian, will be one-stop centres for clients seeking advice and a place to rest and recuperate.