Dubai, UAE: United Arab Emirates-based Al Noor Hospitals will allocate up to $200 million for acquisitions in 2015, its vice-chairman told Reuters on Tuesday, as it increases its operations in its home market and eyes expansion into other Gulf countries.
The Gulf region is experiencing a healthcare industry boom as rising wealth means more individuals are affected by “lifestyle diseases” — for example, five of the six Gulf states are in the global top 10 for prevalence of diabetes.
Al Noor , one of the largest private healthcare providers in the UAE, has made three acquisitions in the country this year, including a cancer centre, and hopes to add further buys in the coming year, vice-chairman Kassem Alom said.
“We are looking to acquire more, to spend up to $150 million to $200 million,” Alom, who stepped down as chief executive of the company he helped to found at the end of last month, told Reuters on the sidelines of a healthcare conference.
He said the company’s focus would remain on the UAE because there was still a lot of room to grow but Al Noor would begin to look towards expanding into other Gulf countries next year as their markets were similar.
Ronald Lavater took over as chief executive on Oct. 1 from Alom, who said on Tuesday he would continue to be involved in shaping the strategy of the firm he helped set up in 1985.
Alom added he would not be selling more of his holding in Al Noor after raising 50 million pounds ($79.7 million) last month from the sale of 5 million shares which reduced his stake to 6.04 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
“I will keep my stake. It (the sale) was needed to give more shares to the market as when we sold it in the beginning it was not enough,” Alom said, referring to the initial public offering in 2013, which saw 32.9 percent of the firm floated in London.
Al Noor , whose share price on Tuesday was around 70 percent higher than its IPO price, has a free float of 45.4 percent. Another shareholder, Ithmar Capital, raised 87.6 million pounds from the sale of a 7.3 percent stake last month.
© ZawyaOct 2014