Al Noor Hospitals Eyes Dubai Acquisitions After Insurance Law

Under the law, Dubai will require its residents and visitors to have compulsory health insurance.



Al Noor Hospitals Group, which raised 221 million pounds ($362 million) in a London share sale in June, is considering expanding in Dubai after the emirate announced plans to make health insurance mandatory.

Compulsory insurance “makes that market even more attractive than it was,” chief strategy officer Sami Alom said in an interview yesterday in Abu Dhabi, where the group is based. “We will be focusing our efforts on Dubai.”

The expansion will be “most likely through acquisitions,” he said, declining to provide details. Al Noor Hospitals said in October it had acquired 75 per cent of Manchester Clinic in Dubai.

Dubai, the second-biggest sheikhdom in the United Arab Emirates after Abu Dhabi, will require its residents and visitors to have compulsory health insurance from their employers or sponsors. The emirate’s government endorsed its medical care law, according to U.A.E’s official news agency. Abu Dhabi already has compulsory health insurance.

Al Noor Hospitals doesn’t need to borrow to finance possible acquisitions, Alom said.

“We’re also keeping our eyes open for the longer term and looking outside the UAE to the” rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council, he said, referring to the six-nation bloc that also includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. The group opened a medical center in Oman in June and sees “a lot of opportunities there,” he said.