Dubai’s healthcare investment company Amanat Holdings said yesterday it had acquired a minority stake in Saudi Arabia’s International Medical Company (IMC), its second healthcare investment in the country, as the Saudi government pursues privatisation. Amanat bought a 13.18 per cent stake in the Jeddah-based IMC for 363.8 million Saudi riyals (Dh356.2m), the Dubai-listed company said in a statement.
“Amanat believes that Saudi Arabia’s socio-demographic outlook, as well as regulatory changes [are] expected to expand the role of private hospitals,” said Khaldoun Haj Hasan, the company’s chief executive.
IMC expects to expand capacity at its current facility and in the Western Region in the next five years. The Saudi company owns a 300-bed multidisciplinary hospital in Jeddah serving the Western Region in 30 speciality areas. Set up in 2006, it has about 150 physicians.
Amanat shares were trading 0.6 per cent down in midday trading on Wednesday from the previous day’s close at 99 fils. That is up from 82 fils a year ago.
The Dubai company also owns 33.25 per cent of Jeddah-based Sukoon International, which offers extended care and critical care services.
Saudi Arabia has allocated 120.4bn riyals for health and social development this year, 14 per cent of its total allocated spend, slightly down from the 124.8bn riyals allocated in the last budget. The actual spending on the health and social development sector last year was 101.4bn riyals.
While the Saudi government is encouraging the private sector to play a larger role in the healthcare segment, it is expected to go ahead with its new initiatives and complete hospital construction.
It is developing 38 new hospitals with a total capacity of 9,100 beds, in addition to two medical cities that will have 2,350 beds. Last year, 23 new hospitals with 4,250 beds were built across the country, according to the Saudi government.
This year, the National Centre for Privatisation under the ministry of economy and planning will set the agenda for privatisation in the healthcare sector among others.
Last month, the Riyadh-listed Middle East Healthcare Company took a loan of 300m riyals to construct the Saudi German Hospital Dammam. Also last month, the Riyadh-listed Dallah Healthcare Company created a separate company with a capital of 5m riyals to manage and develop hospitals, health facilities and medical clinics besides owning land across the country.
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