Monday 14, March 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: When the acquisition of a 51 percent stake in Fakih IVF Group by NMC Healthcare was announced in November 2016, it made waves in the regional healthcare market. At 189 million USD, it has been called the largest healthcare deal in the Middle East in 2015.

Ziad Makhzoumi, CEO of Prime Strategy Consulting Group and former CEO of Fakih IVF Group and current Naseba Advisory Board Member, played a key advisory role in facilitating this landmark deal.

Makhzoumi is a financial executive with a “challenge addiction” who has been featured in myriad publications, both as an author and as a subject. As the former Chief Financial Officer of Arabtec, his financial leadership led to a 260 percent share price increase over a 12 month period.

Makhzoumi has worked with capital introduction and business facilitation company Naseba to close several deals, benefitting both business cases and investors. He is actively working with Naseba to raise capital for several deals in 2016 and beyond.

Naseba has capitalised on the recent crash in oil prices by taking advantage of the oversupply of great, discounted opportunities on the market. The closing of large deals like the NMC Health and Fakih IVF acquisition is a sign that the market remains healthy and active despite economic turbulence.

NMC Health is the foremost integrated healthcare provider in the UAE, while Fakih IVF is the Middle East market leader for in-vitro fertilisation services. And so the NMC and Fakih deal, in Makhzoumi’s own words, is a financial “marriage made in heaven”.

“Both parties believe that their partnership will accelerate achieving their targets. For Fakih it is a strategic partnership that will grow the company in a different form and expand its reach from the UAE to regional and eventually global position. In vitro fertilisation is a growing sector that is needed in the region and the world. Fakih IVF is the leading provider of such services in the UAE.”

Makhzoumi has been involved with Fakih IVF for just over two years, and has planned and implemented its growth into a market leader first-hand. “When I restructured the business starting in 2013, it was one clinic with a few doctors who depended on the outstanding skills of the founder. Today the number of doctors has increased to over 40 with three UAE centres and two more in development in the UAE, also a centre in Qatar and one in Oman.” Financial growth was swift and massive. “Revenues increased by over 500 percent in two years.”

The deal has opened doors for Fakih IVF to make inroads into increasing not only its revenue stream, but also its customer base. “The Fakih IVF business consulted over 30,000 patients last year, but with NMC treating around three million patients a year, the number of patients treated at Fakih IVF will definitely increase manifold.”

The benefits of the deal to NMC are equally significant. “The business itself is a high net margin business so it will improve the margins and actual overall profits of NMC faster than any other sectors they operate in.”

On the topic of the Gulf economy and the effect of oil prices, Makhzoumi takes a pragmatic view. “Oil prices will recover slowly and we are witnessing slight gradual increases, but for various geo-political seasons I do not believe that it will reach its past peaks anytime soon.” However, he points out that healthcare as a sector is relatively immune to the effects of major economic fluctuations, and its stability is assured by the constant and consistent demand for quality health services.

He foresees an uptick in healthcare deal activity, despite the oil crisis: “The advantage with the current situation is that valuations with be reduced and consolidation will be attractive, so I believe we will witness more M&A related activities in the healthcare sector – some of which have already been announced, like the Al Noor deal for example.”

Makhzoumi has clear advice for companies seeking to navigate the post-oil-crisis economy. “Strategy today needs to align itself to the fluid nature of this external environment. It must be flexible enough to change constantly, and to adapt to outside and internal conditions, even as the aspiration to deliver favourable outcomes for shareholders remains steady. Like a more traditional strategy, such an effort is best led by the CEO, but should make use of the combined knowledge and command over talent and resources.”

It is this principle of fluid, adaptable strategy directed by strong leadership that Makhzoumi has been partially responsible for implementing at Naseba. The company continues to grow from strength to strength under the guidance of its leadership and its advisory board.