UAE's NMC Health to invest in Saudi, Qatar for Gulf expansion

NMC Health plans to invest in Saudi Arabia and Qatar part of the USD 325 million which it has available for acquisitions.

By Stanley Carvalho

ABU DHABI, July 21 (Reuters) - NMC Health , the London-listed and United Arab Emirates-based healthcare provider, plans to invest in Saudi Arabia and Qatar part of the $325 million which it has available for acquisitions, a senior company official said on Tuesday.

The company secured an $825 million loan from banks in February to pay debt and fund acquisitions; so far, $350 million has been used to refinance debt and $150 million for acquisitions.

While it is looking at acquisition targets in the UAE and the developed world, its first cross-border expansions in the Gulf will be in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

"We are awaiting approvals for investments in the healthcare sectors of Saudi and Qatar that could happen soon," Prasanth Manghat, deputy chief executive, told Reuters.

"We have two years to use the remaining facility of $325 million and a lot of assets are available," he added, without giving details.

NMC will enter any Gulf market if it sees unfilled demand and potential for growth, while it will continue to buy small assets in the UAE, Manghat said.

It is also looking to increase its capabilities in the UAE through acquisitions in the developed world, where it can obtain knowledge and technology.

"We are looking at some international players," Manghat said, without elaborating.

NMC has made four acquisitions since February, using part of its bank loan as well as its own cash.

It bought 86.4 percent of Spanish fertility centre Clinica Eugin for an enterprise value of 143 million euros ($155 million), and all of UAE-based ProVita International Medical Centre for $160.6 million.

In April, it bought two healthcare service providers in the UAE, Americare Group and Dr. Sunny Healthcare Group, for a total of $100 million.

(Editing by Andrew Torchia and Jason Neely) ((; + 9712 6444431; Reuters Messaging: