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Sime Unit Eyes China Market (The Malaysian Reserve)

KUALA LUMPUR, 22 October 2008- Sime Darby Healthcare, the new unit of Sime Darby Bhd which will house all its healthcare operations under one roof, is eyeing emerging markets such as China for expansion.

Sime Darby Healthcare currently runs a medical centre, a specialist centre and a nursing college.

"Sime Darby Group is operating in over 20 countries. (So) there is opportunity for the healthcare business to establish presence in some of these countries," Sime Darby Healthcare supervisory committee chairman, Tan Sri Wan Zahid Mohd Noordin said.

He said China is already in the company's radar but declined to disclose further details.

"While we enhance our presence and look at ways and means of growing our operations in Malaysia, we are also looking at opportunities in emerging markets such as China," he said at the launch of Sime Darby Healthcare in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Locally, the company plans to open one more healthcare centre in Desa Park City.

On the realignment and renaming of the unit, Wan Zahid said a total of RM3 million was spent for the rebranding exercise.

He said with the exercise, Subang Jaya Medical Centre is now known as Sime Darby Medical Centre Subang Jaya, Megah Medical Specialists Group is now called Sime Darby Specialist Centre Megah while the SJMC Academy of Nursing and Health Sciences has become Sime Darby Nursing and Health Sciences College.

For the financial year ended June 30, 2008, Sime Darby Healthcare registered a revenue of RM250 million and a net profit of RM20 million.
Its contribution to the group turnover was less than 10%, said Wan Zahid.
Sime Darby Healthcare CEO Elaine Cheong said on average, the healthcare unit has expanded by 8% year-on-year.

Healthcare industry provides steady cash flow and to some extent, help to cushion impact of an economic slowdown, said Sime Darby executive vice president, group strategy and business development, Hisham Hamdan.

Meanwhile, Wan Zahid said there were also plans to expand Sime Darby Nursing and Health Science College's intake and the number of courses it offered.

The intake is expected to go up to between 500 and 600 from the present 200 with the increasing demand for nursing personnel.

"Nurses from our college are in great demand by other outfits particularly in the Middle East," he said.

The college plans to apply for a university college status and offer other Allied Health courses by next year.

Sime Darby Healthcare "We Care, We Serve"