After its IPO last October, ADX-listed Burjeel Holdings said a Saudi presence will be of strategic importance. The company is taking its first steps and is also in 'advanced negotiations' on other healthcare assets in the Kingdom. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Abu Dhabi headquartered hospital operator Burjeel Holdings has confirmed its entry into Saudi Arabia, through a joint venture with Leejam Sports Company, which operates the ‘Fitness Time’ branded fitness centers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The latter is also one of the biggest operators of fitness centres in the region.

Under the alliance, the partners will ‘establish and operate’ a network of 60 plus physiotherapy, rehabilitation and wellness centers at Leejam clubs across Saudi Arabia. It will include comprehensive rehabilitation and sports medicine facilities in all of the Kingdom’s main cities.

To be available in the next 12-18 months, the services will include physiotherapy, restoration, and wellness, including vitamin infusion, oxychambers and cryotherapy, as well as complementary medicine services including Ayurveda and Naturopathy. There will be particular focus on sports medicine and advanced rehabilitation treatments.

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John Sunil, CEO, Burjeel Holdings (Left), and Adnan Al-Khalaf, CEO, Leejam Sports (Right), signing the agreement for collaboration during a ceremony held in Riyad. Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, Founder and Chairman, Burjeel Holdings, and Ali AlSagri, Chairman, Leejam Sports were also present. Image Credit: Supplied

The JV – with Burjeel and Leejam Sports holding 50 per cent apiece - is supported by the Saudi Ministry of Sport.

It was in October last that Burjeel Holdings listed on ADX, prior to which it also brought in Abu Dhabi’s IHC as a shareholder. At the time of the IPO, Burjeel had made it clear that Saudi Arabia will be a strategic priority and funds raised will be used to anchor a presence in the Kingdom.

Market sources say that the JV with Leejam Sports could be just the precursor to a a full suite of healthcare related services, including hospitals and clinics. (Burjeel’s investment preference is to go with established operators and facilities rather than go for greenfield ventures.)

“Our collaboration with Leejam to provide high-quality services in rehabilitation and sports medicine is significant as we commence operations in KSA, renowned for its love of sports, and especially football,” said Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, founder and Chairman, Burjeel Holdings.

“Professional and recreational athletes of all levels and passionate youngsters stand to benefit from comprehensive care, ranging from prevention to rehabilitation, which will be tailored to their specific needs.

“Such offerings will create a world-class support system enabling these sportspersons to elevate their performance.”

Burjeel has over 16 hospitals and 23 medical centers under multiple brands, including ‘Medeor’.

It is also in ‘advanced discussions’ to operate and maintain a number of hospital assets in Saudi Arabia, as well as for ‘separate potential partnerships in the delivery of niche, specialized medical care’.