SINGAPORE (Jan 8): Rowsley’s announcement in July last year that it would morph into a healthcare company has kept its stock trading heavily — and at rather rich valuations — for several months.

Shortly before Rowsley called for a trading halt on July 17, the counter was trading at a low of 6.6 cents. When trading resumed on July 19, Rowsley’s market value had more than doubled and continued to rise until it hit a high of 19.8 cents on July 20. Enthusiasm for the stock then abated, only to see another sharp uptick on Dec 18, when Rowsley effectively confirmed the backdoor listing of Thomson Medical Group, as the counter will be renamed.

To be sure, the healthcare sector has been one of the most resilient, thriving even through financial meltdowns and economic stagnation. Hospitals are still running at near-full capacity, and demand for private healthcare services is forecast to keep rising from increasingly affluent — and ageing — populations in the region. In the past couple of years, healthcare-related stocks were among the best performers on the stock exchange. The SGX All Healthcare Index, which comprises 30 companies from medical equipment manufacturers such as Top Glove to hospital operator Raffles Medical Group and real estate investment trust Parkway Life REIT, outperformed broader benchmarks in the region.

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