Hyundai scion's buyout firm acquires 4 Singapore healthcare firms for $189m

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - Singapore-based The Sylvan Group, backed by members of the Hyundai and Rockefeller families, said on Wednesday (Feb 16) that it had bought majority stakes in four Singapore healthcare and pharmaceutical firms for US$140.5 million (S$189 million).

Mr Chung Kyungsun, co-founder and a managing partner of Sylvan, an impact investor, said in a statement that the investments were made from its Sylvan Asia Growth Fund I, which has already raised about half of its targeted US$400 million from investors.

Mr Chung, a grandson of the founder of South Korea's Hyundai Group conglomerate, told Reuters the fund aims to raise the remaining US$200 million by around the second half of 2023.

Impact investments generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact, as well as financial returns.

Sylvan's acquired companies are Juniper Biologics, which develops therapies in cancer and gene therapy, and Artemis Health Ventures, a provider of orthopaedic services. Radiology and imaging services firm DX Imaging and Juniper Therapeutics are the other two acquisitions.

Mr Chung, 35, said the fund's focus areas include healthcare, renewable energy and education sectors - all of which have been targets of cash-rich private equity firms.

"We are investing into mid-size companies that either have strong potential social impact through their businesses or could improve much more by changing their value chains or have solutions for social and environmental problems," he said.

Sylvan has received backing from the likes of Singapore's UOB, South Korea's Hanwha Life Insurance and Kolon Industries.

"One of the reasons a lot of family-controlled conglomerates in Asia are working with us is because they also see the importance of adapting to this new changing environment, which is basically all about sustainability," Mr Chung said.

Founded in 2019, Sylvan's strategy involves taking majority stakes in mid-size, profitable companies and making leveraged buyouts.

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