Dubai Investor Amanat Has $490 Million for Mideast Acquisitions

(Bloomberg) -- Amanat Holdings PJSC has about 1.8 billion dirhams ($490 million) to spend on acquisitions in healthcare and education as the Dubai-based investment firm expands across the Middle East.

The company is looking “at a couple of acquisitions” and “the pipeline is very active,” Shamsheer Vayalil, Amanat’s vice chairman and managing director, said in an interview on Tuesday. Amanat historically bought minority stakes in companies but will “become more involved with managements,” he said.

Vayalil, who is also chairman and managing director of Abu Dhabi-based VPS Healthcare, was appointed to Amanat’s board last month and is now the company’s single largest shareholder after acquiring a more than 20 percent stake, he said. Amanat raised 1.4 billion dirhams in an initial public offering in 2014 and owns stakes in hospitals and schools in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to its website.

The company will consider investments in specialized healthcare facilities such as for diabetes, heart and non-communicable diseases, Alzheimer’s and dementia, Vayalil said. It will also evaluate investments in technology-based education that could possibly replace traditional bricks and mortar schools, he said.

"These two sectors will be attractive in the years to come, if you look at the region," Vayalil said. Privatizations and public-private-partnerships will "definitely drive these segments to the next level and this is where we think we have a good role to play."

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