Conglomerate Ayala Corp. issued $100 million in maiden social bonds which will be used to expand the group’s healthcare portfolio.
Ayala said in a disclosure to the stock exchange foreign subsidiary AYC Finance Limited signed a 10-year social bond through a private placement by the International Finance Corp.
“The pandemic exposed the massive underinvestment in the country’s healthcare system, reinforcing our thesis for entering the sector six years ago. The social bond supports our strategic priority to scale up AC Health as a new growth platform, underpinned by its commitment to uplift the quality and access to preventive care in the country,” Ayala president and chief executive Fernando Zobel De Ayala said.
The issuance marks the first social bond earmarked for healthcare-related purposes in the Philippines.
The conglomerate through healthcare unit AC Health aims to build an integrated healthcare ecosystem that will address the fundamental gaps in accessibility, affordability and quality of healthcare in the country.
AC Health’s portfolio includes Generika, a chain of over 700 drugstores that offer quality and affordable generic medicines; Healthway Philippines, a network of primary, multi-specialty and corporate clinics; the QualiMed Health Network, which operates multi-specialty clinics, a stand-alone ambulatory surgery center and full-service hospitals; and HealthNow, an all-in-one healthcare app that offers telemedicine consultations, online medicine ordering and delivery, and clinic and diagnostic testing booking.
It also has medicine importation and distribution arms—I.E. Medica Inc. and Medethix Inc.
AC Health started in July the construction of a 100-bed cancer hospital in Taguig City. The facility, which will be the first dedicated specialty cancer hospital in the country, is expected to be completed by July 2023.
“Addressing health gaps in the Philippines is a critical challenge that has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rana Karadsheh Haddad, regional industry director for manufacturing, agribusiness and services in Asia and the Pacific at IFC.
“Our investment in this social bond from our long-standing client, the Ayala Group, will help strengthen the Philippines’ healthcare system at a crucial time while also helping to develop the market for social bonds, which is becoming an important tool for helping the private sector to manage the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic and build resilience against future shocks,” Haddad said.