Dubai-based Varkey Group has decided to sell its stake in Emirates Healthcare Holdings to focus on expanding its burgeoning education business.

South African healthcare provider Mediclinic International has reached an agreement to buy out Emirates Healthcare Holdings’ minority shareholders, Varkey Group and the US’ General Electric Company.

“The decision by Varkey Group to exit its healthcare interest is only due to the strategic intent of continuing to focus and grow its education business at a faster pace globally,” said CN Radhakrishnan, senior director and chief financial officer at Varkey Group, in a statement on 27 August.

Emirates Healthcare Holdings ownership* (percentage)
Varkey Group 44.39
General Electric 5.24
Mediclinic International 50.37
*=Prior to plans to sell.  Source: Emirates Healthcare Holdings

As part of the agreement, Mediclinic International will acquire the remaining 49.63 per cent in Emirates Healthcare Holdings it did not previously own, the firm says. It plans to fund the acquisition by equity and debt.

Emirates Healthcare Holdings is the largest private healthcare group in Dubai with two hospitals and eight clinics, including Welcare Hospital and The City Hospital. It employs more than 1,600 people, according to the group’s website.

“This transaction is the logical next step as we continue to invest in attractive growth and development opportunities across our operations in South Africa, Switzerland and the UAE. Emirates Healthcare Holdings has grown at exceptional rates since Mediclinic’s entry in 2006 and the opening of The City Hospital in 2008,” says Danie Meintjes, chief executive officer of Mediclinic International.

The transaction is subject to approval by Mediclinic shareholders and regulators. 

The Varkey Group is a privately held business conglomerate led by Dubai-based businessman Sunny Varkey, with interests in education, healthcare and construction sectors. The group’s Global Education Management Systems (Gems) operates more than 100 schools globally.