x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Medsol plans new diagnostic labs

Medsol, the Dubai-based medical services company, plans to double the number of diagnostic laboratories it operates in the Gulf.

Medsol, the Dubai-based medical services company, plans to double the number of diagnostic laboratories it operates in the Gulf as private medical care booms across the region. The size of the medical sector in the UAE was expected to reach nearly US$12 billion (Dh44.06bn) by 2015, more than tripling in size within a decade. Medsol, which is owned by Global Capital Management, the Kuwaiti private equity firm, planned to purchase an additional 16 laboratories to grow its specialised medical business in the GCC, a senior executive said. Its laboratories can perform roughly 4,000 different procedures including cholesterol checks, swine flu tests and MRI scans.

"We're looking to focus on existing private laboratories with a solid business plan to integrate within our organisation," said Ravi Dhir, the acting chief executive and vice president of Medsol's Kuwaiti operations. The expansion had been focused on Saudi Arabia, but more acquisitions in the UAE had not been ruled out, he added. Medsol now controls 10 laboratories in Dubai, five in Kuwait and one in Saudi Arabia.

As the UAE continued to make significant investments in health care, including a number of new hospitals and medical speciality centres under construction, the sector's value was expected to grow from approximately $3.2bn in 2005 to $11.9bn by 2015, according to Santeum Partners, a healthcare consultancy. "The region is very attractive to us because of the ageing population, amount of disposable income available and the insurance-based market forces," said Mr Dhir.

Since Medsol started in 2006 with four laboratories in Dubai, the diagnostic business had been a major revenue driver for the company, said Wayne Hidge, the finance director for Gulf Healthcare International, Medsol's parent company. "On average, our labs generate profit margins of about 65 per cent," he said, adding the company's capital was "sufficient" to meet its targets. The company had seen its revenues grow by 150 per cent and profit increase 100 per cent in the past two years, Mr Hidge said.

Diagnostic laboratories have a promising future in the region as pharmaceutical firms required local test results to fine-tune their drugs to better serve patients in the region, said Ruch de Silva, a consultant with Datamonitor. @Email:dgeorgecosh@thenational.ae