Abu Dhabi’s Waha Capital aims to invest in Dubai’s health insurance growth

Mandatory health insurance in the emirate offers many opportunities.

Waha Capital has earmarked Dh250 million in investment for the UAE healthcare sector over the next three to five years. Jeff Topping / The National
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An Abu Dhabi investment company plans to invest in Dubai as mandatory health insurance kicks in for the emirate.

“We plan on investing in up to a dozen projects in Dubai, which remains a key area of growth for us over the next 12 to 18 months,” said Hani Ramadan, the managing director of principal investments at Abu Dhabi-based Waha Capital.

“We will continue to study the details of the implementation [of the mandatory health insurance], which will have strong implications for medical operators, but our plans for growth in Dubai remain unchanged as mandatory health insurance was a factor in the formulation of our investment strategy.”

The investor has earmarked Dh250 million in investment for the UAE healthcare sector over the next three to five years.

In June, Waha Capital entered the UAE healthcare landscape by acquiring 97 per cent of Anglo Arabian Healthcare (AAH)’s hospital and laboratory assets. AAH owns and operates 16 assets, including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and diagnostic centres in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah.

The June deal got Waha Capital majority stakes in the Sharjah Corniche Group, Ajman’s Ibn Sina Group and Ibn Sina Hospital, and Proficiency Central Laboratories, which owns laboratories in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

The investor has stakes in New York-listed aircraft lessor AerCap Holdings and Abu Dhabi-based Dunia Finance.

Saudi investment firms are also eyeing Dubai.

In September, Jeddah-based ReAya Holding acquired a 49 per cent stake in Al Zahrawi Holding’s distribution operations in Dubai and Qatar for surgical devices and equipment, and is looking for more investments in the UAE.

“Healthcare is booming because of the interest of the Government to bring in compulsory insurance scheme and because of the organic growth of Dubai itself,” said Ahmed Emara, chief executive and managing director of ReAya Holding, on the sidelines of Healthcare Investment Conference in Dubai last week.

This year, ReAya Holding invested in Saba Medical Group in Jeddah for the distribution of medical devices and primary care clinics, and an ophthalmology day surgery in Istanbul with Avrupa Goz.