The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) plans to auction a 26 per cent stake in newly founded Kuwait Health Assurance Company (KHAC) in September 2011.

KHAC was founded as part of Kuwait’s KD37bn ($134bn) five-year economic plan to manage the healthcare needs of the expatriate market in the country by establishing a greenfield healthcare system selling its own healthcare plans.

“This is a unique company in Kuwait and it will be the biggest healthcare company in the region,” says Mohammad al-Munaifi, chairman of the establishing committee.

The public auction will be open to Kuwaiti companies with a bank guarantee of KD10m. Once the auction is completed, KHAC will issue an initial public offering (IPO) floating 50 per cent of its shares to Kuwaiti nationals only.

With a total capital of KD318m, it is expected to be the largest IPO in Kuwait’s history. It is scheduled to take place within the next six to seven months and the company plans to raise KD159m.

The government will retain a 24 per cent stake and will operate as a silent partner in the company.

KHAC plans to build three hospitals and 15 primary care centres across Kuwait, which are expected to open five years from now.

“We need to create a competitive healthcare market in Kuwait. The government takes care of 90 per cent of the sector, which is too much for the future,” says Al-Munaifi

Once it has established its presence in Kuwait, KHAC will expand outside of the country. “The region is hungry. It is a new market which has potential,” says Al-Munaifi.