HLIB sees domestic healthcare sector thriving in 2024

Dec 21, 2023 | News | 0 comments


KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 20): The Malaysian healthcare sector is poised for sustained growth in 2024, bolstered by the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) enlarged budget allocation and the robust surge in medical tourism, supported by a strategic focus on brownfield expansion by private hospitals, according to Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) Research.


In a sector outlook report on Wednesday, HLIB Research maintained its “overweight” call on the healthcare sector for 2024, as it favours resilient growth drivers. 


The research house named KPJ Healthcare Bhd as its top pick with a “buy” call and a target price (TP) of RM1.57 due to its robust presence in Malaysia, positioning it to capitalise on the nation’s growing healthcare demand and expanding medical tourism industry. 


HLIB Research noted that the healthcare industry stands to benefit from the MOH’s increased budget allocation. For 2024, the allocation has been raised to RM41.2 billion, marking a 13.5% increase from the RM36.3 billion allocated in 2023. 


The enlarged budget carries positive implications for healthcare counters within the research house’s coverage, including DKSH Holdings (Malaysia) Bhd (“buy”; TP: RM5.50), UMediC Group Bhd (“buy”; TP:RM1.00), and IHH Healthcare Bhd (“buy”; TP: RM7.62), as they are involved in the distribution, manufacturing, and provision of healthcare products and services to the public sector.


The research house added that another catalyst for the healthcare sector is the ongoing growth in medical tourism, which is expected to benefit from the reopening of international borders and notably the visa-free travel for Chinese nationals. 


“Malaysia is on track to potentially achieve RM2 billion in medical tourism revenue in 2023, surpassing its initial targeted timeline of 2024 by a year,” HLIB Research added. 


According to the research house, KPJ Healthcare and IHH Healthcare are anticipated to benefit the most from this trend, given their strategic locations and capabilities.


In addition, the research house offered an optimistic outlook for hospital operators who are shifting their focus towards prioritising brownfield projects and expanding their existing hospital capacity.


HLIB Research said KPJ Healthcare aims to add 368 beds (a 9.9% increase) in 2024, bringing its total to 4,101 beds, while IHH Healthcare plans to add 3,800 new beds by 2028, representing a significant 33% increase in capacity across its key operating markets. 


As for UMediC, its upcoming expansion is set to double its manufacturing capacity to 600,000 bottles per month. 


– The Edge  –