Malaysian investors support Columbia Asia hospital venture

April 21, 2010

Columbia Asia has obtained US $77 million in Malaysian financing to help continue its hospital expansion in that country.

The funding agreement with two of the leading banks in Malaysia, Bank Muamalat Malaysia Berhad and Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Berhad, will boost Columbia Asia as it opens six new hospitals in the country by the end of 2011. The transaction is consistent with Islamic law, meaning no interest will be paid and Columbia Asia will instead lease the hospitals involved and take ownership after the last lease payment.

The company’s hospitals in Malaysia are also 30 percent owned by the Employees Provident Fund, the national retirement fund for Malaysia’s private and public employees.

“The financing support is a vote of confidence by the Malaysian people, who have embraced the company as an answer to their growing health care needs,” said Kelvin Tan, CEO of Columbia Asia in Malaysia. “Patients have responded to having innovative, efficient hospitals located near their homes, rather than in the central city.”

Columbia Asia, part of Seattle-based Columbia Pacific, built the company’s first hospital in Seremban in 1999 and currently has five other hospitals in Malaysia: Miri and Bintulu in East Malaysia; Taiping in West Malaysia and Puchong and Shah Alam in the Kuala Lumpur area.

By the end of 2011, the company plans to open an additional six hospitals in the country: another facility in Seremban; Nusajaya, at the southern tip of West Malaysia near Singapore; and Balakong, Bukit Rimau, Petaling Jaya and Setapak in the Kuala Lumpur area.