SINGAPORE (Apr 12): Towards the end of July 2012, at a meeting with bankers and fund managers in the run-up to IHH Healthcare’s IPO, an executive of a financial institution asked what was so special about the healthcare provider. “If we throw a few billion dollars, we can recreate IHH,” he said.

In response, IHH’s current managing director and CEO, Dr Tan See Leng, explained that the hardware — the hospitals and equipment — could be acquired, but the people — the specialists, doctors and other employees — could not be replicated.

IHH has gained more than 103% since its IPO, paid out almost RM1.15 billion ($380.3 million), or 17 sen a share, in dividends and generated RM4.53 billion in net profit since 2013.

And, according to Tan, there is more to come.

IHH has been aggressive, to say the least, growing steadily into the behemoth it is today. Already, the group has under its belt such healthcare brands as Parkway, Pantai, Mount Elizabeth and Gleneagles, a 90% stake in Acibadem Holdings and a 31.17% stake in Fortis Healthcare, and employs more than 55,000 people and operates more than 15,000 licensed beds across 84 hospitals in 12 countries.

Interestingly enough, Tan says over the next five years, IHH will be taking its healthcare offerings to a whole different level.

“In the next three to five years, IHH will have a huge IT arm transforming it into a more digitised and digital healthcare platform because we own 84 hospitals,” Tan notes.

Find out more in this week issue of The Edge Singapore (Issue 877, week of Apr 15), on sale now at newsstands. Subscribers can log in and read the story or click here to subscribe.