Spiritus Mundi Q&A: A strong Board and a balanced play

Spiritus Mundi plc Chairman Zaccheus Peh caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss why they established the business, their focus, demand for the future, the types of business they are looking to acquire and why people should be following the company.

Spiritus Mundi have today announced the intention to float as a cash shell on the London Stock Exchange and joining me today to discuss the news is Chairman Zaccheus Peh.

Q1: As mentioned, you’ve announced the intention to float the company as a cash shell on the London Stock Exchange, can you just tell us why you’ve established this business and a bit about the focus of the company?

A1: I think healthcare has changed quite a fair bit over the last 1-2 years because of COVID-19 and within it there’s a lot of changes. And people are beginning to understand healthcare a bit more.

For example, previously we used to explain quite a fair bit about what a PCR is or what a serology test but today, everybody understand what a PCR is, everybody understands a laboratory business, to a certain degree and, they understand the importance of turnaround times.

So, we thought it was a good time to actually do something in this area, to look for a good business that we can acquire and that’s why I decided to form a good Board and look into this space.

Q2: Now, you mentioned clinical diagnostic labs and the COVID-19 pandemic has obviously provided a massive boost to them, do you expect this demand to continue in the future?

A2: I do think so, I think with the pandemic a lot of people are assuming that the daily testing will come down, it’s quite natural as we are trying to leave as though it’s like the flu. Bear in mind, as we move towards an endemic stage, you’ll begin to see travel opening up. You will see a lot of travelling taking place and that number is a lot bigger than what you used to do for common testing.

So, with that, I still think there’s a huge demand that’s coming up for that in that area.

Q3: Can you tell us a bit more about the sectors of focus and the types of business you’ll be looking to acquire?

A3: We are still looking in areas like testing, laboratory businesses where they do a lot of testing for COVID as well as those leveraging on this business, I think that is one area we are focussing on.

The other one that we’re really looking at is digital health. As we know with travel opening up there’s a lot of digital health passports going around, something that has been established between two countries, allowing your test to be securely transferred into an app so that when you go through customs, you are able to verify that all those tests are valid. I think this is one interesting space to look at.

The other one, of course, is all of the numerous technology that’s used in relation to COVID, whether we can pick it up early or making it a lot easier for detection, for example, something as simple as ERT. So, there’s a couple of technologies that are getting down to the end consumer as well.

So, these are things that we are looking at that I think are potential, that we can look at with all these companies. In the last 1-2 years, it has been a healthy growth and moving through the pandemic, it’s still a very sustainable business model.

These will be the sectors we want to focus on right now and we still think that there’s still room to play, particularly for COVID, over the next 2-3 years.

Q4: Is there anything more that you’d like to add and can you summarise why people should follow Spiritus Mundi with interest?

A4: I think one of the interesting things about this is we managed to assemble quite a strong Board, a Board that has a lot of experience, about 75 years of experience in total but there’s familiarity in laboratory testing, there’s familiarity in clinical diagnostics and all the new technology that is coming out to be integrated into COVID platform. So, I think having a strong Board is good.

In addition, I think the other interesting thing is a balanced play, a lot of people are looking at the US and Europe, very similar in terms of moving to an endemic, but if you look at Asia, Asia is very different. People like China, Taiwan, Hong Kong are still looking at trying to fight the COVID war in a sense that they want zero cases before they open up.

So, it’s a good balance play that in terms of the use of healthcare services, whether it’s in Europe or in Asia, and because we are covering both areas it gives a lot of room for us to play, to look at various kind of technology, various kinds of companies for us to acquire and bring on board into this vehicle.

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