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Thu 27 Feb 2020 12:32 PM

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Saudi IPO nets $2.3bn for one of world's richest doctors

The IPO is the first in Saudi Arabia since state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco raised almost $30 billion in December

Saudi IPO nets $2.3bn for one of world's richest doctors

Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Group is one of the biggest providers of healthcare in Saudi Arabia, operating hospitals, outpatient clinics, pharmacies and medical labs throughout the kingdom, as well as in Dubai (pictured) and Bahrain.

A Saudi paediatrician has become one of the world’s wealthiest doctors after the medical-services group he founded priced its initial public offering at the top of a marketed range.

Sulaiman Abdulaziz Al-Habib’s 49% stake in his eponymous company is worth 8.5 billion riyals ($2.3 billion), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, based on the announced selling price of 50 riyals a share. He plans to sell 17.4 million shares in the IPO, according to the prospectus. The company didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Group is one of the biggest providers of healthcare in Saudi Arabia, operating hospitals, outpatient clinics, pharmacies and medical labs throughout the kingdom, as well as in Dubai and Bahrain.

The IPO is the first in Saudi Arabia since state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco raised almost $30 billion in December.

Private sector health

The firm is seeking to capitalise on the government’s plans to ramp up private-sector participation in healthcare and the country’s demographic trends. Saudi Arabia’s population is disproportionately young and relatively unhealthy. More than a third of adults are obese and 18.5% suffer from diabetes, according to World Health Organization statistics.

Al-Habib, 68, established the business in 1993 after serving as chief medical officer and head of paediatrics at two government-owned hospitals in Riyadh. A graduate of King Saud University, he did his paediatrics fellowship at the Royal College of Physicians in the U.K. He also invests in commercial real estate through a holding company, according to the prospectus.

Very few doctors rank among the world’s richest people. HCA Healthcare Inc. co-founder and former U.S. Air Force flight surgeon Thomas Frist is the wealthiest with a net worth of $13.1 billion, according the Bloomberg index. Biotech entrepreneur and physician Patrick Soon-Shiong has a $9.2 billion fortune.

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