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Wed 21 Jul 2010 06:44 AM

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Hospital group eyes funds for India, Sharjah growth

Zuleka Hospitals Group applies to World Bank unit for $24m loan for expansion plans.

Hospital group eyes funds for India, Sharjah growth
EXPANSION FUNDS: Zuleka Hospitals Group has applied for a loan to help fund expansion plans in Sharjah and India. (Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The UAE’s Zuleka Hospitals Group has applied to the IFC, a unit of the World Bank Group, for a $24m loan to fund the expansion of its Sharjah hospital and the roll-out of its first facilities in India.

The medical group, which owns two hospitals and three clinics in the UAE, is proposing a major restructuring at a total estimated cost of $52m, according to the IFC website.

In part, the finance package would be used to kickstart Zulekha’s expansion into India. Some $21m of the proposed loan would be used to build a 189-bed hospital in Nagpur, in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Access to medical care in the region is patchy, meaning residents often have to travel several hundred miles to receive treatment.

India is a designated investment target for the World Bank.

The remaining $3m of the finance package would be used to help fund the expansion of Zuleka’s Sharjah hospital, in Al Naseriya.

In its loan application, the group pledged to use clean energy initiatives in the new facility, which is expected to occupy a vacant plot next to the current hospital.

The IFC said it also expects to aid Zuleka in overhauling its corporate governance standards to “help it successfully transition from a family owned business into a corporate business.”

Zuleka launched its first UAE hospital in Sharjah in 1992, opening a second in Dubai in 2004. Today, the group employs more than 1,000 staff and treats more than half a million patients a year.

The IFC loan would represent the first institutional investment into the Zulekha Group.

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