NMC Health wins regulatory approval for new medical centre in Saudi Arabia as expansion drive presses on

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NMC Health is working to expand from its UAE base (Source: Getty)

United Arab Emirates-based hospital operator NMC Health has received the green light to build its long-term care facility in Saudi Arabia.

The firm, which was recently promoted to the FTSE 100 index, also agreed to buy two hospitals in the region for a total of $40m (£30m).

NMC Health is building a "landmark" chronic care specialty medical centre in Jeddah, which it said is expected to boost core earnings from 2018. Initially it will operate with 50 beds and it is expected to be at full capacity at 220 beds in the first half of 2019.

Prasanth Manghat, chief executive of NMC Health said: "As one of the first foreign entrants into the KSA [Saudi Arabia] healthcare sector, we have learned a great deal over the past year and intend to use this knowledge to better navigate the Saudi regulatory landscape moving forward.

"With a total licensed capacity now at about 700 beds, we see the Kingdom as an important part of NMC's growth strategy and will continue to identify areas in which we can fill gaps in the country's healthcare offerings."

NMC has rocketed since its 2012 listing at 210p, with its valuation multiplying more than 13 times. Shares in the firm edged down 1.07 per cent to 2,647 in late afternoon trading today.

The company has worked to expand bed capacity throughout the UAE and into Saudi Arabia and Oman to diversify its UAE base, and it has focused on higher margin treatments including in vitro fertilisation (IVF). It is now ranked as one of the top three IVF operators in the world.

Read more: NMC Health leads FTSE 250 risers as it prepares for future expansions

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