Bahrain’s SHHS plans $1.5 bln expansion

DUBAI – Safe Hands Health System Holding Co (SHHS) of Bahrain plans to spend $1.5 billion on medical facilities across the Gulf region over the next 10 years, the company’s chairman Abdul Wahab Al-Mutawa said on Monday.

Abdul-Wahab-Al-MutawaMr. Abdul Wahab al-Mutawa said the first phase of expansion will see SHHS open four hospitals in Saudi Arabia by the beginning of 2012, later expanding into the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

The 18-month-old firm, majority owned by Kuwait’s Al Mal Investment Co, has arranged $85 million for initial investment and will raise new funds next year.

“We are going to raise new capital in 2010. We are supposed to build 30 facilities all over the GCC. The projected investment is $1.5 billion over the next 10 years,” Mutawa told Maktoob Business on the sidelines of a conference.

He said the company’s focus will be on creating standardarised primary and secondary healthcare facilities in locations that have a shortage of hospitals.

Hospitals planned by SHHS will have facilities for surgery, emergency treatment, maternity care, along with pharmacy and full diagnostics.

The company announced in December last year that it had hired U.S.-based Hammes Co to help it with project implementation and design.

Mutawa said SHHS will have a joint venture with another U.S. company based in Denver to run the hospitals.

The company will soon start looking for potential sites in the UAE, he said.

“Next year we are going to study the market more carefully,” Mutawa said, adding that the priority will be “under-served” locations such as Al Ain and Sharjah.

SHHS will target places that have a population of more than 80,000 with each facility between 95,000 to 125,000 square feet in size, he said.