The gains from PureHealth's stake buys in the US and UK should be felt in the current year financials. The Abu Dhabi company will be looking for more such strategic buy-ins. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Abu Dhabi headquartered hospital operator PureHealth delivered a 31 per cent increase on its 2023 revenues, at Dh16.3 billion from Dh12.48 billion a year ago. The net profit however slipped below Dh1 billion, standing at Dh964.9 million against Dh4.28 billion.

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The financials are the first reported after PureHealth’s knockout IPO in December and listing on ADX. The company – which has a diversified portfolio of healthcare focussed businesses – had been working heavily on acquisitions to power up its asset base for the long-term.

“We will continue to identify strategic acquisitions that broaden our reach and expertise,” said Shaista Asif, Group CEO. “Our international expansion efforts bore fruit with the acquisitions of Ardent Health in the US and Circle Health in the UK (closed in January 2024).

“The Group has recorded growth across all major business segments and this accomplishment underscores the strength of our strategic vision.

"Our top-line surged 31 per cent year-on-year, reflecting the successful integration of our acquisitions. Recognizing the post-pandemic landscape, we prioritized unlocking value across our ecosystem, optimizing costs and capturing synergies, resulting in a healthy EBITDA margin of approximately 15 per cent."

UAE healthcare sector up for new investments

The UAE’s healthcare space is primed for new deal flows, according to market sources. The other Abu Dhabi based hospital firm, Burjeel Holdings, also delivered strong 2023 financials, with net income of Dh540 million from Dh4.5 billion in 2023 revenues.

As for PureHealth, it can call on a Dh28 billion asset base (current and non-current). Plus, "The debt to EBITDA is lower than healthcare industry standards," said an analyst. "Especially since cash-to-EBITDA stands at a healthy 3x, it gives room for the group to aim for further expansion through acquisitions."

Apart from its network of hospitals (14 of them), PureHealth comes across as a highly integrated healthcare entity, owning entities such as Daman, the medical insurer, Rafed, which is its procurement arm, and PureLab. Plus, there is SEHA, which has 46 clinics apart from the 14 hospitals. (All told, the PureHealth portfolio consists of more than 15 companies in the UAE. There is also the growing international presence through Circle Health and Ardent Health Services.) 

Cost of healthcare talent
Amidst all the favourable trends in UAE's healthcare sector, industry players will need to give particular attention to one issue - the cost of employing talent.

"A looming shortage of qualified professionals casts a shadow on this promising future," says PureHealth. "This talent gap could hinder the overall transformation, dampen efficiency, and ignite fierce competition for skilled workers. Addressing this challenge will be crucial in sustaining the region's exciting healthcare boom."

More ‘tech’ investments

“A wave of tech investment is transforming healthcare across the MENA region, with the UAE at the forefront,” says PureHealth. “Vertically integrated players like PureHealth are flourishing as telemedicine, AI, and other technologies integrate across broad consumer segments.

“This, coupled with rising populations, promises not only revenue growth but also an accelerated expansion of healthcare services.”