Moroccan hospital group where mother gave birth to nine plans IPO debut

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A Moroccan private health-care provider that helped a mother give birth to nine babies this month is enacting a 1.5 billion dirham ($170 million) expansion before seeking an initial public offering.

Akdital Holding, the North African nation’s biggest operator of non-state hospitals, is considering an IPO “in the coming years that would help finance plans to extend its business beyond Morocco, Chief Executive Officer Rochdi Talib said.

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The sector is also receiving a boost from King Mohammed VI’s plan to extend social insurance to all 37 million people in a country that has one of the lowest ratios of hospital beds to population in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Seven to eight new private general hospitals will see the light of day within the next few months in several Moroccan cities, Talib told Bloomberg in emailed comments. The company, which is 20 percent owned by a Mediterrania Capital Partners fund, is investing the sum from 2020-2023, he said.

Akdital’s short-term plans include doubling its overall capacity in Morocco to 1,800 beds by the end of 2022 and establishing facilities with 200-270 beds in all parts of the kingdom, according to the CEO. The firm expects turnover to climb to 700 million dirhams this year from 500 million in 2020.

Investment in Morocco’s private health-care has been rising in recent years, spurred by new regulations, increased middle-class purchasing power and the country’s growing profile as an affordable location for Europeans and others seeking non-essential procedures.

That comes as Morocco’s underfunded public health-care system languishes, with only five teaching hospitals and a chronic deficit of medical workers. The country has just one hospital bed per 1,000 people, according to World Bank data for 2017, the last year for which the lender cites figures. Nearby Mali, meanwhile, had the lowest proportion in the world at its last count.

That’s the home country of Halima Cisse, the 25-year-old who last week gave birth to five girls and four boys after being evacuated by the Malian government to an Akdital facility in Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city, for special care. Cisse, who’d been expecting seven children, appears to have set a new world record with her nonuplets.

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