DIC invests in Asian wellness service provider

Dubai International Capital has picked up a “significant minority stake” in Singapore-based True Group.

Middle Eastern firm Dubai International Capital (DIC) has invested in True Group, a wellness service provider.

Patrick Wee, founder and chief executive officer of True Group told PEO, “DIC will hold a significant minority stake in True.”

DIC did not disclose either the stake it bought in True Group or the amount it paid. The firm could not be reached for comment.

Founded in 2004, True Group started operations in Singapore as a fitness, yoga and wellness group. Over the last few years, the group has opened wellness centres in other countries such as Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand to become one of the largest yoga and wellness groups in the region. True provides yoga, spa, fitness, and treatments to customers through 17 centres that it operates in these four countries.

DIC is looking to tap into the low penetration rate of wellness centres in Asia’s markets. Anand Krishnan, chief operating officer at DIC and acting chief executive officer at DIC Emerging Markets, said in a statement that DIC looks forward to “supporting their [True Group’s] expansion plans and making this unique concept accessible to consumers throughout Asia and the Middle East.”

He added that Asian wellness club membership levels are still low as compared to the US and Europe, hence their investment has good growth potential, especially considering rising disposable incomes in the region.

DIC’s investment will be used by the True Group to expand its operations in Asia. Wee told PEO that “this alliance will provide a launch pad for True to enter into new markets, in particular the largely untapped markets in the Middle East and Indian subcontinent, heralding True’s move from an Asian brand to a global brand… the True Group currently has 17 centres located throughout Asia. By partnering with DIC, we are targeting to have 100 centres within five years.”

“We expect to open new facilities in the major cities of the Indian subcontinent as well as in the Middle Eastern markets beginning with Dubai,” he added.

The investment in True Group is in line with DIC’s mandate to grow and diversify its emerging markets portfolio, the statement noted.

The investment is a demonstration of “our increasing focus on Asia as a key driver of growth for 2008 and beyond” said Sameer Al Ansari, executive chairman of DIC, in a statement.