ABU DHABI: NMC Health Plc, the biggest privately owned health-care company in the UAE, is looking to buy hospitals and other medical facilities in Saudi Arabia where the government has announced privatisation plans as part of efforts to reform the country’s economy.
NMC Health, which has a market capital of almost $6 billion, is especially interested in the bidding process for the health care unit of the Saudi Arabian Airlines, known as Saudia, Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, the billionaire founder and non-executive chairman of the London-listed company, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV at his office in Abu Dhabi.
“I’m interested,” he said. “Whenever there is a chance, I’ll go. We have surplus funding, no problem.”
Saudi Arabia is looking into privatisation of all industries as part of reforms to wean its economy off oil while reducing state spending and narrowing the fiscal deficit. The government announced last year that it was considering putting all public hospitals under the management of independent companies and turning some hospitals into non-profit foundations.
NMC Health has no plans for a dual-listing as a result of Brexit “since we are doing extremely well,” Shetty said.
The India-born Shetty started the company in 1975 when he opened a clinic and a pharmacy in Abu Dhabi. It came at a time when the UAE provided free health care services to citizens and expatriates. The company was listed in 2012 on the London Stock Exchange.
The company’s stock rose 14 per cent last month compared with about a 1 per cent increase in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index and 4.4 per cent advance in the FTSE 100 Index.