Turkish hospital group keen on expanding abroad through acquisitions
Hülya Güler - SOFIATurkey’s Acıbadem Hospitals Group, which recently bought Bulgaria’s largest health groups for 125 million euros, is now considering investments in Serbia and Romania in a bid to double growth figures over the next five years, group chair Mehmet Ali Aydınlar has said.
He also noted that the group would build a big health center in Amsterdam as well.
“We will make investments in Serbia and Romania in the near future. We will also establish a hospital in Amsterdam as our main focus will be Western Europe from now on. We plan to post two-fold growth in the next five years,” said Aydınlar.
The Acıbadem Hospitals Group said on April 21 that it had agreed to buy 100 percent of Bulgarian private hospital group Tokuda and a majority stake in Bulgaria’s City Clinic for a total of 125 million euros. In so doing, Acıbadem has become the biggest private healthcare provider in Bulgaria with four hospitals and four medical clinics.
While Acıbadem bought 100 percent of Tokuda, it acquired 76.5 percent of the City Clinic Group. This was the third foreign investment by the group along with investments in Iraq and Macedonia, according to company representatives.
The company, however, canceled plans to build three hospitals in Russia after a diplomatic crisis erupted between Turkey and Russia, they added.
The transfer of the new investments to the group was made in an official ceremony on June 8.
Aydınlar said the group had one hospital in Iraq and Macedonia each and a total of 16 hospitals in Turkey, along with 13 clinics.
“With our Bulgaria investments, these figures have risen to 22 and 17, respectively. We offered services to 3.5 million people last year, 10 percent of whom are foreigners,” he said, adding that their international patient center employed 220 people who can offer services in all languages.
“In the past, wealthy Turkish people went abroad to get better medical care than they could in their own country. Things have reversed since then. Our group has representative offices in 24 countries. We accept patients even from the United States. The Acıbadem Group provided medical services to around 40,000 foreigners last year,” he said, adding that health tourism revenue was of great added value to the country.
Terror attacks, parity fluctuations ‘hit health tourism’
According to Aydınlar, the inflow of health tourists has slowed down over the last two years due to a number of terror attacks in Turkey as well as parity fluctuations.
“There has been some slowdown. Turkey offers medical services of high quality and standards. We have seen demand for our services from all countries from or to which Turkish Airlines has direct flights. Turkey could become a huge health hub in the region as long as no serious mistakes are made,” he noted.
Malaysia’s Integrated Healthcare Holdings (IHH), which is the second largest healthcare chain in the world, has a majority stake in Acıbadem.