Hospital, healthcare
Ageing populations require need for greater capacity in long-term healthcare solutions. Some of the biggest healthcare providers are already investing heavily in this category. Amanat wants to join in through a new company. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE is getting another healthcare operator, with Dubai’s Amanat Holding set to launch a standalone company that will create 1,000 operational hospital beds in 3 years in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

And also go in for an IPO with Amanat Healthcare.

Such a target should be relatively straight-forward for the company, given that it already has investments in specialized healthcare (and education) assets in the UAE. Amanat Holding is listed on DFM. Healthcare sector in the UAE and other Gulf markets is again turning into a hot investment space, with existing operators/investors particularly well-placed to take advantage rather than new entrants.

Plus, in Amanat’s case, it’s going to double down on the specialized post-acute care offered long-term. “In addition, we will also look at further strategic options for Amanat Healthcare, including inorganic growth opportunities that generate synergistic benefits with our existing portfolio,” said Hamad Alshamsi, Chairman. “And concurrently explore potential monetisation opportunities for Amanat Healthcare, which may include a regional initial public offering in the near-term.”

On DFM, Amanat Holding - one of the few listed UAE companies allowing up to 100 per cent foreign ownership - is trading at Dh0.96, down 0.52 per cent. The 52-week high is Dh1.11 and Dh0.81 the corresponding low.

Amanat Holding has stakes in Cambridge Medical and Rehabilitation Center, Sukoon International Extended Care Center and Al Malaki Specialist Hospital. 

Saudi Arabia's privatising healthcare

Saudi Arabia would be a ripe market for any healthcare entity targeting rapid growth in the medium-term. Already, several privatization plays are in the works.

According to Amanat’s acting CEO John Ireland, “The private healthcare market in the region continues to grow strongly, underpinned by favourable demographic and population trends in addition to a supportive government and regulatory environment designed to develop the sector to meet the growing needs of the population.

“The formation of Amanat Healthcare will enable Amanat to maximise the opportunity within the GCC through the creation of a new platform which combines quality specialised healthcare with strong financial performance.”

According to healthcare sources, a lot of deals had taken place involving stake sales or outright purchases of private clinics and specialist firms in the UAE since 2018. Some of those investors would find the current market conditions favourable to make an exit.

This is why when top Amanat officials talk about 'inorganic growth' through acquisitions, it's turning out to be sweet music for those investors. Others too are in the fray, with one of the biggest pharmacy operators in the UAE wanting to upscale through its own clinics.