Netherlands-based electronics maker Royal Philips Electronics believes it can achieve double-digit growth this year for its medical systems business in Thailand, despite the economic slowdown and rising oil prices. "Given the outlook of unabated oil price increases, an impact is likely next year," said Viroj Vithayaveroj, general manager of Philips Medical Systems in Thailand.
Jouko Karvinen, president and CEO of Philips Medical System, said the impact would be insignificant given Thailand's growing demands for medical equipment, particularly among private hospitals which are now gearing up to market their services to medical tourists. Karvinen said Thai demand for medical systems grew faster than elsewhere in Asia, which had 10 percent growth.
He attributed this growth largely to the emerging and increasingly advanced market, growing Thai affluence, an aging population and the government's aim to position Thailand as an Asian medical hub. The chief factor, though, was the building of new medical facilities and equipment renewal, particularly among cash-rich private hospitals.
Philips signed deals with Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Plc, the operator of the Bangkok Hospital chain, to supply two of its sites with Philips Brilliance CT 64 scanners for heart disease diagnosis. Philips will install the first machine at Bangkok Heart Hospital next month, and the other at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital before the end of the year. The company expects to sign a similar contract with Samitivej Hospital, another affiliate of Bangkok Dusit Medical Services.
Last year, Philips sold five magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) units for 550 million baht (approx. U.S. $376 million) for Bangkok Hospitals, the largest such Philips contract in the Asian region.
Medical systems amounted to about 10 percent of Philips' domestic sales last year. Its major revenues come from lamps and semiconductors, and Philips has factories in Thailand that make both products. Still, the company is currently the leading medical systems supplier in Thailand.
Medical systems sales last year accounted for about 19 percent of the total 30.3 billion euros (approx. $37 billion) in sales by Philips Electronics, up from 6 percent in 1998. (Bangkok Post)
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