Having grown DM Healthcare into one of the Gulf’s biggest private healthcare providers, Azad Moopen is eyeing up more funding, India and a potential IPO
In his sights are opportunities in the US, Europe, Egypt and Nigeria, which would mainly target would-be ‘healthcare tourists’, patients who typically travel to less-developed nations seeking more cost-effective medical treatments. “In Western countries, because of the financial downturn, [patients are] looking at cost-effective solutions in healthcare. A lot of people are travelling for healthcare into the Asian countries [for treatment],” he believes. “Instead of [patients] travelling to the Asian countries, why don’t we take [treatment] to them? It will be a better method than bring all these patients here. If you take one doctor [to the US], maybe he can see 100 patients there?”
Moopen says, though, that he does not anticipate expansion into these territories to happen until at least 2017, but before 2025.
DM Healthcare recently received a $100m cash injection from private equity firm Olympus Capital Asia, which will help to fuel the company’s expansion plans across the GCC and India. Moopen says that the company is seeking further external investment, but only if he and his family continue to hold the controlling stake in the group.
“As a family we hold a significant majority [in DM Healthcare], so we can go for maybe another round of dilution without going into a minority,” he says. “In assets we are well-funded... but we are planning some acquisitions in the Middle East and India... so we may require additional funding.”
One way of raising this funding would be through a stock exchange listing. In April 2012 NMC Health, an Abu Dhabi-based private healthcare provider, took part in a successful initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange, where it sold 55.7 million shares, raising £117m ($187m).
DM Healthcare’s Moopen says that he will look to follow NMC down the IPO route, saying a listing in 2014 or 2015 is on the cards.
“In the next two or three years we’re looking at an IPO, either in markets like London or maybe here [the UAE] if the market improves... or maybe in India where the multiples are very good actually,” he says.
Moopen says one facet of the company that could prove attractive to potential investors is that the DM Healthcare is concentrated across several verticals, with its portfolio spanning general hospitals, specialty hospitals, smaller clinics and a large network of pharmacies.
“We have an advantage compared to many other healthcare players, because we are into multiple verticals of healthcare, which many people are not,” he claims. “We’re into mainstream hospitals, as well as clinics and pharmacies. Many of the healthcare players, if you look at them, are maybe into just one vertical, like hospitals or pharmacies.”
Regardless of whether the mooted IPO occurs or not, Moopen says that the benchmark for the company’s success is matching the likes of Emirates Airline and Jumeirah Group, UAE companies that over the years have evolved into brands recognised the world over.
“Our aim in the next ten to fifteen years is to be a global player, rather than a regional player,” Moopen asserts. “That’s what the whole strategy is, to not just be [in] GCC and India, we want to become somebody that is present in many geographies.”