VPS Healthcare latest company to show interest in Al Noor Hospitals

According to London takeover rules, VPS now has until November 17 to decide whether or not to make a firm offer for Al Noor.

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VPS Healthcare is the latest company to express an interest in acquiring Al Noor Hospitals, according to an official statement to the London Stock Exchange.

VPS, best known in the Emirates as the owners of the Burjeel hospitals in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, was identified by Al Noor after The National on Monday revealed there had been a third approach to LSE-listed Al Noor.

“The board of Al Noor notes the comments made to the media by chief executive Ronald Lavater, and confirms it has received a highly preliminary indication of interest from VPS Healthcare.

“However no formal proposal or indicative terms were received,” the statement said.

According to London takeover rules, VPS now has until November 17 to decide whether or not to make a firm offer for Al Noor.

South African-owned Mediclinic, quoted on the Johannesburg stock exchange, has agreed terms with the board of Al Noor and with two of its biggest shareholders speaking for 34 per cent of the shares.

Meanwhile, NCM Health has also expressed its interest in acquiring Al Noor, and has until November 6 to come up with a firm offer or walk away from a bid.

Al Noor shares jumped in LSE trading yesterday, ending the day at £11.80, above the £11.60 value put on them by the Mediclinic offer. NMC has yet to decide what price it might offer, but some analysts believe the shares could be valued at a minimum of £11.90 per share.

VPS, founded in 2007 by Shamsheer Vayalil, its current managing director, also owns and runs hospitals and pharmacies under the LLH Hospitals, Life Care Hospitals and Life Line Pharma brands, as well as medical facilities in Oman.

It has 7,500 employees and 650 doctors.

Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi announced in the summer that it would invest US$1.5 billion in the emirate in the next three years.

Mr Lavater said that the board would consider other offers. “The board has a duty to consider all proposals and make a decision in the best interests of shareholders.”

Although the VPS interest was described as at a very early and informal stage, it is believed the company’s management has taken advice from a leading investment bank adviser.

A financial source close to the bidding process said that there had also been “speculated” interest from a big private equity group in the UAE about the possibility of acquiring Al Noor.


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