Arab Health: UAE group eyes 7 new hospitals, growth for budget brand

Aster DM Healthcare is poised for ‘rapid expansion’ in the UAE, eyeing seven new hospitals with a Dh1.25bn investment plan over two years.

This comes even as the company delays its Initial Public Offering (IPO) plans to Q4 2016.

The homegrown healthcare juggernaut has confirmed five hospitals are currently in the pipeline, across Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, with another two still in talks.

The brand is also looking to further expand its budget Access Clinics brand, citing the mandatory national insurance plan will now open doors to a new market potential for its budget arm.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7 at the ongoing Arab Health Exhibition and Congress, Aster DM Healthcare’s Executive Director, Alisha Moopen, spoke about the company’s expansion plans for the UAE.

She said: “We are in the process of opening five new hospitals over the next two years, with a 100-bed facility on Sheikh Zayed Road, followed by a 150-bed one in Sharjah. Both of these will come under the Medcare umbrella.

“We also have two hospitals coming up in Al Ghusais, one under Medcare and the second under the Aster brand. Combined, these will add another 250 beds.”

Moopen further highlighted growth potential in Abu Dhabi, with a 50-bed hospital earmarked for Mussafah, while another two will are awaiting final decision.

She further revealed: “While we have a robust pipeline for hospitals in the UAE, but we also see growth potential for our budget brand, Access Clinic, especially since the announcement of mandatory health coverage for residents.”

Moopen stated for their expansion of clinics and pharmacies, the company was actively looking at acquisitions based on the ‘right location and fit’.

The executive director stated funding this growth an was not a concern, despite its IPO delayed until Q4 2016.

“We didn’t have a requirement at the time, so we pushed the IPO,” she said, adding: “It will definitely happen, but end of this year or early next year.”

With its presence in nine countries, 14 hospitals – six in GCC – 93 clinics and 200 pharmacies, the Aster DM Healthcare brand also runs the flagship Rs5.5bn Aster Medcity quaternary healthcare centre in the Indian state of Kerala.

Quiz her if the 2020 growth plan for the company could include such a facility in the UAE and she does not rule this out, saying: “It is too early to say if it would be by 2020 or at a later stage. But if we see the demand for such a facility in the UAE, it may happen. We can’t rule out its potential.”

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