UAE health firm Burjeel plans Saudi expansion as IPO nears

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United Arab Emirates healthcare provider Burjeel Holdings, established under VPS Healthcare, on Wednesday announced plans to expand into Saudi Arabia ahead of its initial public offering (IPO) later this year.

The company, which owns and operates hospitals and other healthcare facilities, will invest up to $1 billion in the kingdom by 2030 as part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with the Ministry of Investment that includes working with local institutions.

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“It's a non-binding MoU but we are taking it seriously and I think the market is big. The potential is huge and we think that it is an achievable number,” CEO Shamsheer Vayalil told Reuters by phone.

Burjeel is in talks to partner with public and private healthcare facilities, including hospitals, in Saudi Arabia, he said.

“Our deployment will be more towards capex and towards operating ... such assets and probably some refurbishment based on the condition of those assets that we are targeting right now.”

The investments in Saudi Arabia will likely be financed with project debt, though no talks with banks have begun, the CEO said.

Reuters reported in April that the Emirati healthcare firm hired JPMorgan and the investment banking arm of Dubai's biggest lender Emirates NBD for the stock market listing.

Burjeel Holdings was set up by Vayalil ahead of a potential listing, while certain entities not part of the public offering will remain under the VPS group.

EFG Hermes and Dubai Islamic Bank are global coordinators on the deal, Vayalil said.

Burjeel Holdings will be listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) this year, he said. The exact timing has yet to be determined but “we are exploring the soonest window possible”, he added.

The value of the business and size of the IPO have yet to be determined, though a minority stake is expected to be offered.

“We have to get the feedback to get to the final number,” Vayalil said regarding how much the IPO could raise.

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