Dr B.R. Shetty, founder and Chairman of New Medical Centre (NMC) group has big plans for his company as well as for himself. He is trying to expand his group to other Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries, and in his capacity as a businessman, he is planning to invest in India and Egypt to acquire new hospitals.
In an interview with Gulf News, he said that the health care sector in the UAE has a huge potential for growth and the spending is expected to increase in the coming years.
“The figure will reach Dh40 billion by 2015. This shows the amount of confidence in the health care industry. It will grow,” he said.
According to him, medical tourism is going to boom in the UAE. “People from across the region will come here for treatment. It will be good in Abu Dhabi. We have our hospitals and there is Cleveland hospital.”
In 2011, the group raised $330 million (Dh1.2 billion) through IPO on London Stock Exchange. The money was used in building a multi-super specialty hospital in Khalifa city in Abu Dhabi which is set to open next year, and other projects in the UAE.
“The construction of the hospital is over, fit out is being done and the equipment is being installed. We are planning to open in the first half of next year. It will be the biggest private sector hospital in the UAE.”
Dr B.R. Shetty said that he is investing in different countries including India and Egypt. He said that he acquired a hospital in Alexandria and turned it into the best hospital in the city.
“It is a 450-bed hospital. Expansion is going on. It is a huge investment.” He did not divulge the money involved.
“Since my ventures have been successful, I am acquiring more hospitals in Egypt.”
Dr Shetty also owns another hospital in Alexandria and is close to acquiring another one is Cairo. He owns two hospitals in Nepal.
“My only vision is to provide health care for all. My first instruction to doctors is to see the pulse of the patients and not the purse. The pain of the patient is important for us.”
Dr Shetty who is also the proprietor of UAE Exchange said that he has applied for a licence to open a bank in India. “I got all the pre-qualifications to open a bank. I am waiting for the approval. It will be an extension of my business.”
He also has a pharmaceutical factory in Egypt manufacturing medicines for the cure of hepatitis C. He said it is the first company in the world to do so.
He praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with whom he travelled recently to the US and Japan.
“Modi’s government will be in power for the next twenty years. He is straightforward and hardworking. He has proven track record in Gujarat. I was with him in Tokyo and New York. The response he received was marvellous. I feel he will make Asia proud. He is a world leader.”
Other plans of Dr Shetty include opening a medical college, a nursing college and a pharmacy college in Abu Dhabi in collaboration with an American University.
“We are the first private player in the country when we started NMC. It was taken up very well, first as a medical centre, then a hospital and then as a super specialty hospital. It is our growth. After Abu Dhabi insurance mandate was given, we’ve grown exponentially. We could not cope with the rush,” said Shetty, who started his career in the UAE as a sales person in the 1970s.
When asked whether he is grooming his children to take over the business, he said, “It is not my intention to ask my son to sit on my chair. We will do it in a corporate governance way”.