Five European hospital chains to make inroads into Oman market

MUSCAT, MARCH 10 –
Initial formalities linked to the development of a major high-end super-specialty hospital planned in Muscat in partnership with a prominent Spanish medical group are due to be completed by around mid-year, according to project’s lead promoter.
Oman and Emirates Investment Holding Co SAOG (O&E), a Muscat-based publicly listed company, is spearheading plans for the establishment of the 70-bed capacity — expandable to 100 beds at a later stage — with a total investment of around $62 million. O&E has a 20 per cent equity stake in the venture.
“Selection of shareholders, shareholding structure, project funding arrangements, consultant’s appoint, legal due diligence and other relevant activities towards setting up this project have been finalized,” O&E’s Chairman stated in the Chairman’s Report for fiscal 2017. These formalities are expected to be completed by June 2018, with further activities set to take place thereafter, the company added in an accompanying Management Discussion & Analysis.
Earlier, at a press briefing held last May to announce the project, O&E said the hospital will be managed by the reputable Spanish healthcare provider Asistencia Sanitaria Interprovincial De Seguros S A U (ASISA).
ASISA Group is made up of 70 companies specializing in different aspects of healthcare, spanning the operation and management of hospitals, dental clinics, labs, imaging centres, IVF clinics, and so on. It also owns the largest private hospital network covering around two million insured clients, over 30,000 physicians and specialists, 50 subsidiaries, 15 hospitals and 600 associated medical centres. Revenues are in the order of $2 billion annually.
Also participating as an investor in the project is the well-known Omani investment firm Al Khonji Holding. Financial Corporation Company (Fincorp), a subsidiary of O&E, will provide advisory services in the implementation of the project.
When launched in an estimated three-year timeframe, the hospital will offer a wide range of specialised medical treatments and services, state-of-the-art medical technology in mother and child care, cardiology, genetics, urology, neurology, dermatology, oncology, rehabilitation, ophthalmology and IVF, according to the promoters.
Significantly, the proposed project will represent the first of a string of European-managed hospital ventures in a market presently dominated by Indian networks headquartered in India and the Gulf region.
Earlier this year, the local Omani firm Elixir United Investment LLC, a subsidiary of the well-diversified business enterprise Al Jazeera International Group, announced that it was partnering with an Italian investment fund to develop a specialty hospital in Muscat Governorate at a cost of around $260 million. Elixir is a 30 per cent equity partner in the project, with the unnamed Italian fund acquiring the balance.
The 300-bed capacity hospital is proposed to be managed by Gemelli hospitals, the second biggest private health facility in Italy. An estimated 2,000 people will be employed in the operation and management of the hospital, which is due to launch in 2020, according to project officials.
Earlier, in December 2017, Austria-based Vamed Engineering, which specializes in the development of multi-specialty healthcare centres, signed a contract with Oman-based Murtadha Business Solutions (MBS) to set up a 100-bed specialty hospital in Suhar for the treatment and rehabilitation of spinal injuries. The proposed facility, billed as the first of its kind in the Gulf, will offer specialist services in the treatment of spinal injuries, as well as cervical, thoracic and tumours.
In May last year, Oman-based Al Madina Real Estate signed a memorandum of understanding with Italian firms ICM Maltauro Group and F&M Ingegneria for the development of a multi-specialty hospital project in the Sultanate. The project is proposed to be implemented on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model.
And in yet another European-managed hospital project announced earlier last year, Al Afia Healthcare Development and Investment Company, a partnership of Oman Brunei Investment Company, Suhail Bahwan Group and Portuguese-based Idealmed Group, unveiled plans for a 100-bed multi-specialty hospital at Ghubra in Muscat Governorate. The facility is anticipated to open its doors in 2020.