BDA Partners hosted its 4th Private Equity Conference in Singapore and Shanghai

BDA PE Conference: The premier Asian deal networking event for PE investors


This year’s BDA PE Conference saw 52 leading private companies conducting one-on-one meetings with more than 300 Asian and global PE investors in Shanghai and Singapore. More than 50 senior bankers from BDA’s global team were also in attendance.

52
Presenting companies
80+
GPs and Investors
300+
Senior PE investors
>US$10bn of EV>US$12bn of dry power300+ 1×1 meetings


Paul DiGiacomo, Managing Partner and Head of the Financial Sponsors Group, BDA Partners, said: “Every year our flagship PE Conference has grown, and this year we had a great line-up of companies presenting across the consumer, health, industrial, services and tech sectors.”

“We were also pleased to see some companies and management teams participating again as presenters after having presented at previous conferences. It signals that they find this event to be a worthwhile use of their time. It also is indicative of the growing recognition in Asia that private equity has an important role to play as good owners of high-quality companies over a long term. We are starting to see more companies in Asia successfully transition to their 3rd or 4th private equity owner in a row, a trend which we believe is set to grow.”

“Thank you for the support from all our participants, presenting companies, investors and our colleagues to make this event a great success. We look forward to seeing you all again at the 2023 BDA PE Conference.”

A rapidly expanding middle class with increased health awareness post-pandemic will continue to fuel demand for higher standards in all aspects of healthcare in Vietnam, making the country a favorite investment destination. At BDA Partners, we have seen strong interest from both financial sponsors and strategic investors to gain exposure to the sector, and we believe that there remains an abundance of M&A opportunities across various healthcare verticals.

Healthcare services – Key M&A volume driver

Historically, transactions involving private hospitals and clinics have driven deal volume in Vietnam, and this theme is expected to persist given favorable market dynamics. Vietnam’s aging population with increased health awareness and growing income level have created unmet demands for high quality healthcare services. On the supply side, the issue of overcrowding at public hospitals in major cities persist. According to the General Statistics Office[1], Vietnam has 3.1 hospital beds per 1,000 population in 2021, below WHO’s recommended level (5 beds per 1,000 population). This supply-demand imbalance implies significant headroom for the expansion of private healthcare in Vietnam, supported by government policies such as Decision No.20/NQ-TW 2017[2], which sets the target for private hospital beds to account for 10% and 15% of the total number of hospital beds in 2025 and 2030, respectively. As a result, private hospitals and clinics will continue to generate significant interest, especially as patient volume is recovering to pre-pandemic level, while surgeries, complex procedures, and other high-value medical services have been reintroduced.

Notable trends

Pharmaceuticals – Favorable market conditions propelling strategic M&A partnerships

With no foreign ownership limit for pharmaceutical manufacturing, many local manufacturers have formed partnerships with foreign investors, with examples such as Taisho-DHG, Aska-Hataphar, SK-Imexpharm, and Daewoong-Traphaco. Per Decree No. 54/2017/ND-CP[3], foreign-invested entities cannot directly participate in pharmaceutical distribution in Vietnam, while still being able to distribute their locally produced products. This regulation makes investments in local manufacturers the most efficient way for foreign players to gain exposure to Vietnam’s pharmaceutical market, which is projected to reach US$16.1bn by 2026 per BMI Research[4].

Going forward, as a defensive sector, pharmaceuticals will receive strong interest amidst current global macroeconomic turbulence. The industry is set to benefit from the government’s strategy to promote domestic manufacturing, which aims to increase the share of locally produced pharmaceuticals to 80%[5], in a market historically dominated by imports. To boost competitiveness, local manufacturers will find M&A with foreign strategic investors as a viable strategic option, enabling them to meet global standards through transfers of technology, corporate governance, and management expertise. Meanwhile, investors are targeting manufacturers in Vietnam to capture local market potential and export opportunities through contract manufacturing partnerships.

Others – Emerging verticals with headroom for growth

Healthtech

The decrease in direct interaction due to the pandemic has brought healthtech into the spotlight, given increased demand for virtual healthcare services. Remote medical examinations and digitalization of medical records have been among the key focuses of the Vietnamese government. Meanwhile, in the private sector, healthtech startups serving various verticals of the market such as telehealth (JioHealth, Med247, eDoctor), third party administration (Insmart, South Asia Services), and e-pharmacy (Medici, POC Pharma) have recently successfully raised funding from foreign investors, highlighting the prospect of the nascent healthtech segment in Vietnam. However, healthtech is still trailing other tech-related sectors such as payment or e-commerce in investments and development progress, and there is still ample room for investors to participate in the value creation process.

Diagnostics

The diagnostics market in Vietnam is still highly fragmented, with most players in the market being mom-and-pop labs with limited scale, low volume, and outdated technology. Thus, companies that can create scalable, modern, and tech-enabled networks of diagnostic services to capture market share will appeal to investors as good anchor assets for the creation of pathology platforms, similar to what happened in regional markets such as India and China. In addition to clinical diagnostics, genetic testing has also appeared on investors’ radar, with companies such as Genetica and Gene Solutions having completed their early funding rounds and Gentis being acquired by Eurofins.   

Medical equipment

There are still few local manufacturers that meet international standards – more than 90 percent of medical equipment in Vietnam is imported, according to the Ministry of Health[6]. Nevertheless, the recent US$30m investment in 2022 by Eastbridge Partners in USM Healthcare, a local stent manufacturer, signifies that high quality assets in this space will still generate good traction. This sector will be an interesting one to watch, especially in the medical consumables segment (e.g., stents, sutures, etc.), which is more prevalent among local assets.

Looking ahead

From our recent interaction, healthcare regularly features among the key focuses of financial sponsors. Given favorable sector trends, financial sponsors are going to capitalize on and exit their investments, while also remaining as active investors due to accumulated dry powder and pent-up dealmaking demand after the pandemic. On the other hand, strategic investors will continue to closely monitor suitable opportunities to invest in synergistic assets in Vietnam. Investors with existing presence in Vietnam or in markets with similar levels of development will have an advantage through their deep understanding of market intricacies and strong operational know-how, to quickly integrate with potential targets.

In conclusion, we remain confident in the availability of M&A opportunities in Vietnam’s healthcare market going forward, especially now that Covid-related impacts that created valuation gaps and diligence challenges should no longer remain as obstacles. We look forward to a busy period ahead in 2023 with our ongoing live deals and strong pipeline of opportunities in the sector.


[1] https://www.gso.gov.vn/

[2] https://thuvienphapluat.vn/van-ban/The-thao-Y-te/Nghi-quyet-20-NQ-TW-2017-tang-cuong-cong-tac-bao-ve-cham-soc-nang-cao-suc-khoe-nhan-dan-365599.aspx

[3] https://thuvienphapluat.vn/van-ban/The-thao-Y-te/Decree-54-2017-ND-CP-guidelines-for-implementation-of-the-Law-on-Pharmacy-356336.aspx

[4] https://gmp.com.vn/thi-truong-duoc-pham-viet-nam-2021:-trien-vong-han-che-va-nhung-xu-huong-n.html

[5] https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/772550/support-for-domestic-pharmaceutical-industry-to-rise-in-viet-nam.html

[6] https://www.vietnam-briefing.com/news/vietnams-medical-devices-industry-opportunities-for-european-businesses.html/