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Tue 18 Oct 2011 06:43 PM

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UAE's Alchemist eyes GCC healthcare investments

Investment firm says it is looking at Kuwait, Oman, Saudi to build on UAE portfolio

UAE's Alchemist eyes GCC healthcare investments
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Alchemist Healthcare, a UAE based investment company, has acquired 75 percent equity stake in Dubai's Mussalla Medical Centre as it looks to expand its interests across the GCC.

Having earlier invested in two healthcare assets in Abu Dhabi, Alchemist Healthcare said it is looking to become a regional leader in the healthcare sector and was planning to spend AED150m by the end of the year.

Mussalla Medical Centre has more than 20 doctors in 14 specialties treating about 300 patients a day, in addition to providing laboratory and diagnostic services.

Commenting on the transaction, Shailesh Dash, CEO and founder of Al Masah Capital Management Limited, which manages Alchemist, said: “The inclusion of Mussalla Medical Centre in our healthcare group is a significant step for our UAE expansion plan."

He added that Alchemist had an "ambitious expansion plan" for the centre in the next six months.

Amitava Ghosal, partner at Al Masah, added: “The Dubai healthcare market is on the verge of a significant reform.

"Through our Dubai operations we intend to help meet the rising healthcare needs of Dubai population.”

Government initiatives to reform the insurance sector and to focus on providing better healthcare services to combat rising non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hyper-tension, and obesity will encourage expansion of the sector, he said.

Dash said Alchemist was looking for further expansion in the UAE and the wider GCC with deals currently being negotiated in Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

"We still feel that adding two or three more healthcare facilities in the UAE, especially Dubai will enhance our group’s value and network of doctors and healthcare facilities," he said.

“We have plans to invest close to AED150m in the GCC healthcare sector by the close of 2011 and will further expand our services in 2012 to cover North Africa. We are looking at adding more facilities in Dubai, Sharjah, and Al Ain as well as introducing our services in Kuwait,” he added.

Home to more than 214m people, and expected to reach 233m by 2015, the MENA region is one of the fastest growing regions in terms of population growth.

Healthcare expenditure is expected to reach $125bn by 2015, almost double 2009 expenditure of $65bn.

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