Gulf Capital to help Amana Healthcare with expansion

The investment in Amana has been made with a view to either divestment or an IPO in the future.
Arlene Susanne Ryan, quality coordinator explains about the VGo Robotic Telepresence at Amana Healthcare in Al Ain. Pawan Singh / The National
Arlene Susanne Ryan, quality coordinator explains about the VGo Robotic Telepresence at Amana Healthcare in Al Ain. Pawan Singh / The National

Gulf Capital has unveiled an investment in Amana Healthcare, with a view to helping the specialised care provider to expand across the UAE and the GCC.

The Abu Dhabi-based alternative asset management firm’s investment is a mezzanine finance deal that will eventually convert into equity, according to Gulf Capital’s managing director Walid Cherif.

He declined to disclose the level of investment.

Mezzanine finance is a mix of debt and equity that is typically used to help with a company’s expansion.

The investment has been made with a view to either divestment or an IPO in the future, said Mr Cherif, giving no details as to the timings of such a move.

Amana, based in Al Ain, provides long-term acute care, post-acute rehabilitation and home transition and respite care services.

“This investment by Gulf Capital will assist Amana Healthcare in realising its tremendous growth potential in this critical sector of specialised health care,” said Gulf Capital’s chief executive Karim El Solh. “This strategic investment continues Gulf Capital’s strategy of increasing exposure to fast growing and defensive sectors such as health care in the Gulf region.”

Amana, founded in 2013, is expected to open its second facility, in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa City, by the end of this month.

The company is planning to open its second facility in Al Ain, together with its first facility in Dubai, within the next two years, and is looking for expansion opportunities in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, said Mr Cherif.

“This investment from Gulf Capital will expedite Amana Healthcare’s plans to deliver best-in-class, long-term medical care and post-acute rehabilitation to the citizens of the UAE,” said Amana’s co-founder and executive director Ali Hashemi.

“The team at Gulf Capital has demonstrated a sound understanding of our business and our strategic growth plans.”

The deal comes as investment in the healthcare sector evolves from a focus on primary care facilities, such as hospitals and emergency clinics, to more specialist facilities dealing with long-term, persistent issues.

Gulf Capital’s investment is a fresh vote of confidence in the sector, following the disappointing listing of Amanat Holdings, an investment company focused on health care and education, on the Dubai stock exchange on November 30.

Despite being 10 times oversubscribed, Amanat shares have been pummelled since their bourse debut, falling victim to general negative market sentiment.

Its shares have fallen every day but one since they listed at the end of last month, closing at 79 fils a piece yesterday.

Yet Amanat’s woes need to be seen in conjunction with Dubai’s bear market, rather than any loss of confidence in the healthcare or education sectors, according to Mr Cherif.

“The fundamentals are still there for both education and health care,” he said. “We’ve invested in both and we don’t see any dangers to the fundamentals of both sectors in the near future.”

The healthcare market across the GCC is expected to rise to US$56 billion in 2020, including $12.5bn in the UAE, up from $37bn in 2012, according to projections from Falak Consulting.

Gulf Capital also expects to unveil an investment in a regional food and beverages company, headquartered in the UAE, by the end of the first quarter.

jeverington@thenational.ae

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Published: December 14, 2014 04:00 AM

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