THAILAND— The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has said that it is investing 909 million Thai baht (US$30.10 million) through private placement of equity shares in Principal Capital Public Company Limited (PRINC), a publicly listed company on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

The investment will help PRINC to expand its hospital network to serve the middle and lower-middle income patients in Thailand’s rural and frontier regions, creating jobs and promoting energy efficient design and construction in the country, IFC noted in a statement.

“IFC’s investment will help PRINC expand access to affordable and quality health care for the middle-income segment by reaching the under-penetrated regions in the country,” said Vikram Kumar, IFC Country Manager for Thailand.

“The investment aligns to IFC’s strategy to provide affordable healthcare to the under-served through higher private sector participation.”

With Thailand’s rapidly aging population, health care spending for the elderly is expected to increase from 2.1 percent of GDP in 2010 to 2.8 percent of GDP in 2022.

The number of people affected by non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes is also growing while number of hospital beds per 1,000 people is still low standing at 2.1 in Thailand compared to the regional average of 3.6.

Further, most of the private sector hospital chains are concentrated in Bangkok and Phuket, catering to higher income population, expatriates and medical tourists.

“IFC’s investment is an affirmation of its support to emerging hospital chains in middle-income countries with increasing demand for quality health care and a growing middle class,” said Dr. Satit Viddayakorn, Chairman of the Executive Committee, PRINC.

“Besides long-term financing, IFC’s support will help us formulate environmental and social standards and adopt green building design principles.

PRINC also values IFC’s extensive industry expertise and global network in the health care sector.”

PRINC currently has seven hospitals in its portfolio and is planning to expand its network to 15 to 20 hospitals with a capacity of 1,800 to 2,000 beds within the next five years.

The company is also adopting IFC’s EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) certification for select hospitals in its network.

IFC says that EDGE helps builders to assess the most cost-effective method of incorporating green building features into their designs.

IFC is the largest multilateral investor in health care in developing countries, with investments in more than 210 projects in the past two decades totaling US$5 billion.

IFC investments in the sector are aimed at promoting greater access to affordable and high-quality health care.