Corporate News

By Krista A. M. Montealegre, Senior Reporter

Phinma to open Myanmar nursing school

Posted on April 15, 2016

PHINMA CORP. plans to bring its education, housing and hotel businesses to Southeast Asia, starting with a nursing school in Myanmar.

On the sidelines of its stockholders’ meeting in Makati City on Thursday, Phinma Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ramon R. del Rosario, Jr. told reporters the holding company is looking at expanding in Myanmar and Vietnam -- countries that have similar demographics as the Philippines.

“We think we know what we are doing. We think that’s where the opportunities are... We think that given the confidence we have developed by being successful in our ventures here, we think this is a model that can be transported in other parts of Southeast Asia,” Mr. del Rosario said.

Leading Brunei businessman Dato Timothy Ong was tapped to sit on the board of its parent company Phinma, Inc. and Phinma Education Holdings, Inc. -- the holding firm for its investments in the education space -- to help guide the listed company in its regional thrust, Mr. del Rosario said.

Phinma will kick off its thrust to be the “leader in education for Southeast Asia” with the opening of a nursing school in Myanmar this August through a partnership with the group that owns Victoria Hospital, one of the premiere hospitals in Yangon.

“There’s a demand for nurses in Myanmar… Eventually, what we hope to establish in Myanmar is an education business similar to the ones we have here that will offer affordable and high quality education,” Mr. del Rosario said.

The listed company is also studying the possibility of setting up English schools throughout Southeast Asia and expand its course offerings in the next one to two years, Phinma Education President Chito B. Salazar said.

“We think international has a big potential, but we think in the next few years, it will be a learning curve for us so we don’t think we will be earning a lot. It will take 3-5 years before it starts to earn well,” Mr. Salazar said, noting that the listed company approved a $1-million investment in Myanmar.

In the Philippines, Phinma continues to be in talks with schools located in Davao, Laguna and Metro Manila catering to the middle-income market segment.

“We prefer to acquire existing ones. Because of the K to 12 (Kinder to Grade 12) program, some schools are finding themselves uncomfortable with the prospect of lack of freshmen. Their cash flows will be disrupted. We are hoping this will result in more opportunities for us,” Mr. del Rosario said.

Phinma is aggressively expanding its education business in preparation for its possible stock market listing in 2020.

“We think our incomes will be flat in the next two years. There is strong interest in Phinma Education but we are not yet opening our doors to other investors,” Mr. Salazar said.

The Phinma group also has interests in energy, steel manufacturing and business process outsourcing for animation services.

Shares in Phinma climbed six centavos or 0.52% to close at P11.56 each on Thursday.