x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Kuwait aims for new bids on healthcare company

Kuwait retenders the bidding for the Kuwait Health Assurance Company, a public-private partnership to provide expat health insurance in Kuwait, after receiving only one bid.

As the scale of investment in Middle East health care increases, the Kuwait Investment Authority (Kia) plans to re-tender bids for the Kuwait Health Assurance Company.

Bidding for the planned private-public sector partnership, intended to develop healthcare services for Kuwait's expatriates, had initially been expected to close in November.

The sale of a 26 per cent stake in the company had initially been intended for Agility Logistics, after the bidding period was extended by two weeks. Agility's offer, announced in December, was valued at 25.6 million (Dh336.7m) Kuwaiti dinars.

On Wednesday, Agility said Kia's move to re-tender had been taken "in the hopes of obtaining a better financial premium".

Kuwait's intention to privatise portions of its critical infrastructure and social services have stalled recently in the face of low levels of financing from European lenders mired in the euro-zone debt crisis and anaemic credit growth among Kuwaiti banks.

The country missed its spending target for its development plans last year as a corruption scandal rocked parliament, leading to some scepticism among economists about whether the government's plans could be realised.

Government spending amounted to 3.19 billion dinars, accounting for 61.5 per cent of the total budget earmarked for those projects, the Kuna news agency reported in January, citing Adel Al Wugayan, the secretary general of the Kuwaiti supreme council for planning and development.

Lending by banks to the private sector grew by 2.5 per cent last year to 28.2bn dinars, according to data from Kuwait's central bank.

ghunter@thenational.ae

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