UAE's Burjeel enters Saudi Arabia market with deal for 60 clinics

The ADX-listed healthcare operator plans to open physiotherapy and rehabilitation centres in joint venture with Leejam Sports

Burjeel and Leejam officials sign off on their joint venture. The companies say the chain of new clinics will offer comprehensive rehabilitation and sports medicine services. Photo: Burjeel Holdings
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Abu Dhabi healthcare provider Burjeel Holdings has signed a preliminary agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Leejam Sports Company to set up more than 60 clinics in the kingdom as part of its regional expansion.

The two sides have agreed to a joint venture that will create and operate a network of more than 60 physiotherapy, rehabilitation and wellness centres in fitness clubs operated by Leejam in Saudi Arabia, Burjeel said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares are listed.

The joint venture marks the UAE healthcare operator’s entry into Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy, where it will also provide sports medicine facilities.

Burjeel did not disclose the financial details of the deal or how much the partners plan to invest in the chain of clinics.

The financial impact of the deal will be “determined later”, Leejam said in a bourse filing to the Tadawul stock exchange, where it trades.

The partners plan to open six clinics in Riyadh during the second quarter of this year. They will expand the network across the kingdom in the next 12 to 18 months.

“Our collaboration with Leejam … is significant as we commence operations in [Saudi Arabia],” Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, founder and chairman of Burjeel Holdings, said.

“Professional and recreational athletes of all levels and passionate youngsters stand to benefit from comprehensive care, ranging from prevention to rehabilitation, which will be tailored to their specific needs,” he said.

“Such offerings will create a world-class support system enabling these sportspersons to elevate their performance.”

The new clinics will also offer complementary medicine services such as Ayurveda and Naturopathy, with a focus on sports and advanced rehabilitation treatments.

Leejam, with 155 centres across Saudi Arabia and the UAE, is the leading operator of fitness centres in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Burjeel said it is also in “advanced discussions to operate and maintain a number of hospital assets in the kingdom”.

It is also separately negotiating partnerships for specialised medical care facilities.

Burjeel last year announced plans to enter Saudi Arabia, with investments of up to $1 billion through joint ventures and public-private partnerships.

Burjeel is well-positioned to “unlock new markets, explore mergers and acquisition opportunities and deliver exponential growth across the business”, Dr Vayalil said in November.

Burjeel Holdings, founded in 2007, has network of about 61 assets, including 16 hospitals and 23 medical centres as well as pharmacies and other services throughout the UAE and Oman.

The company, which listed in October on the ADX, raised more than Dh1.1 billion ($300 million) from an 11 per cent stake sale through the company's initial public offering.

The deal to sell more than 550.7 million shares drew strong demand from investors in the UAE and the wider region, and was more than 29 times oversubscribed. Total gross demand was more than Dh32 billion.

In November, Burjeel reported an almost 40 per cent drop in third-quarter net profit, but its revenue rose as the company said it was in its “strongest ever position” to increase growth after its IPO.

Net income for the three months to the end of September slipped to Dh46.6 million, down from Dh77.6 million from a year earlier, the company said in a bourse filing at the time.

Revenue for the third quarter rose more than 9 per cent to Dh933.1 million.

Updated: February 06, 2023, 7:48 AM