UAE's Burjeel Holdings to enter Saudi Arabia with $1bn investment

The company will explore opportunities through joint ventures and public-private-partnership models

Shamsheer Vayalil, Burjeel Holdings’ founder and chief executive, and Fahad Alnaeem, Deputy Minister for Sector Investment Development at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment, during the signing of the agreement. Photo: Burjeel Holdings
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The UAE-based healthcare services provider Burjeel Holdings, which is aiming to go public later this year, announced its entry into Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and said it will invest up to $1 billion in the Arab world’s biggest economy by 2030.

The company has joined forces with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment and aims to partner with various healthcare organisations in the kingdom. It will explore investment opportunities through joint ventures and public-private-partnership models, under the agreement.

Founder and chief executive Shamsheer Vayalil said Saudi Arabia is a key focus market for Burjeel Holdings.

"We are proud to commit to this [memorandum of understanding] with the Ministry of Investment — a significant step in our entry to the kingdom,” Mr Vayalil said.

“We are excited about the many opportunities to support the kingdom’s healthcare ambitions and to bring our expertise to a sector, which is integral to the delivery of Vision 2030."

Founded in 2007, Burjeel Holdings is one of the leading private healthcare services providers in the UAE, with a growing presence in the wider Gulf region. It has a network of 61 assets, including 39 hospitals and medical centres, as well as pharmacies and other allied services.

It is seeking to raise at least $750 million from an initial public offering in Abu Dhabi this year, Bloomberg reported earlier this month.

In May, UAE-based VPS Healthcare consolidated its healthcare assets in the UAE, Oman and the rest of the Gulf under a holding company called Burjeel Holdings as part of the next phase of its expansion. The move created one of the largest integrated health networks in the region.

Demand for healthcare services has grown amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies are consolidating their assets to gain scale and add additional services including diagnostics, testing and other support services to better serve patients and increase their market share.

In January, Abu Dhabi holding company ADQ merged its healthcare subsidiaries with Alpha Dhabi’s Pure Health Medical Supplies to streamline their portfolios, creating the UAE’s largest healthcare provider.

The healthcare sector in Saudi Arabia is also undergoing a massive transformation as part of its Vision 2030 strategy.

Saudi Arabia spends the most on healthcare in the GCC, according to Statista show. It had the highest share of its gross domestic product spent on healthcare compared to the region last year.

The kingdom also has one of the highest densities of medical professional per thousand residents in the region, the report said.

As per the new agreement, Burjeel intends to establish various healthcare offerings across Saudi Arabia. They include speciality medical centres, day surgery capability, digital health ventures, super speciality hospitals and clinical research programmes. The company has also committed to explore research and innovation in the areas of cancer prevention, screening and therapy.

In addition to healthcare services delivery, Burjeel will also work with the Ministry of Investment in areas of humanitarian aid and international healthcare volunteering, the company said.

“The group is in discussions with various private sector providers and leading public sector hospitals in Saudi to deliver these services and expects to begin formalising collaboration agreements over the coming months,” it said.

The company reported revenue of nearly Dh3.4bn ($912.4m) in the 2021 fiscal year, representing an 18 per cent compound annual growth rate over the three-year period from 2019 to 2021.

Updated: August 24, 2022, 12:58 PM