Friday, 11 March 2011

AMC to raise RM1.5b for varsity

PETALING JAYA: Academic Medical Centre Sdn Bhd (AMC) wants to raise between RM1.2bil and RM1.5bil over the next three years to fund the Perdana University Graduate School and adjoining facilities, which is being set up via a tie-up with Johns Hopkins of the United States.

It is in talks with several investment banks both locally and abroad and is looking to either issue a sukuk or take a bridging loan facility, said AMC chairman Tan Sri Dr Mohan Swami.

He said studies showed that the venture would break even only in its sixth year of operations.

The development will include two faculty buildings, a chancellory, a life sciences building, a 600-bed hospital, staff and student accommodations. All these would be built at the cost of RM2bil on 130 acres in Serdang.

The local banks in the running include CIMB Bank, RHB Bank Bhd and Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd, while two foreign banks, one each in Singapore and Baharin, are also in talks. AMC needs the money to fund the building of the facilities as the main campus and hospital have to be operational by 2014.

Apart from sourcing funds from banks, the shareholders also need to fork out monies for the development.

“We are putting in our own money and every other shareholder in the venture will have to do so. We are looking at 70% funding from banks and 30% from shareholders.

“There is interest from local and foreign banks, from the Middle East, Singapore and Europe, to fund the project development,’’ he told StarBiz in a interview recently but declined to name the banks due to confidentiality issues.

“We are in negotiations and hope to firm up things in the coming weeks. We expect construction to begin later this year,’’ he added.

Earlier, sources said Lembaga Tabung Haji and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) will take 30% and 15% stakes respectively in AMC but MARA, after reviewing the offer, said “the investment proposal is not in tandem with the current investment structure of MARA.’’ It is unclear what is the status of Lembaga Tabung Haji’s interest.

Mohan’s companies Turiya Bhd and Chase Perdana Sdn Bhd own 55% equity in AMC. Of the 55%, Turiya has 10% equity in AMC and Chase Perdana the remaining 45%.

“Since it is a public-private partnership, the funding has to come purely from the private sector,’’ he said.

Of the RM2bil, Mohan said RM1bil would be used to construct the 600-bed hospital and for equipment.

Of the remaining RM1bil, about RM300mil-RM400mil is for the construction of two schools and the chancellory, a life sciences building, the staff and student accommodations, infrastructure and land acquisition.

“We will buy the land from Mardi and it would be at commercial rates,’’ Mohan said.

AMC has a tie-up with Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine International and Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) in Ireland to offer courses.

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