Columbia Pacific Weighs $2 Billion Asia Hospital Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Investment firm Columbia Pacific Management is considering selling one of its Asia hospital operators in a deal that could value the business at as much as $2 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Columbia Asia, which owns about 30 hospitals and clinics across India, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia, is working with advisers to explore options including a sale or initial public offering, according to the people. A process could begin early next year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

Private hospital operators in Asia have emerged to meet the demands of middle-class and affluent consumers looking for better medical care. Many emerging markets such as India and China still face a shortage of hospital beds and doctors, and private insurance is taking off. The region’s health-care industry is expected to grow 12.5 percent to $517 billion this year, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Private equity firms and other hospital operators could be targeted as potential buyers in an auction, the people said. A representative for Seattle-based Columbia Pacific declined to comment.

Columbia Asia, which opened its first hospital in 1996, said in March that it had raised $210 million from investors including Mitsui & Co. to expand its operations. The company said at the time that it would have 45 hospitals and two clinics by 2025, increasing the number of beds across its facilities to more than 4,000 from 2,600.

The parent company, Columbia Pacific, was founded Daniel Baty and his sons Stanley and Brandon, according to its website. Columbia Pacific also owns a separate health-care business in China.

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