Gulf Capital, one of the largest and most active alternative asset managers in the Middle East, announced today its three-year growth plans for IVI-RMA Middle East, the fastest growing provider of fertility treatment services in the GCC, following its acquisition of 100% of its stake for over US$ 100 million.
The transaction is a corporate carve-out of the Middle Eastern clinics of IVI-RMA, the largest IVF service provider globally, and continues Gulf Capital’s strategy of acquiring controlling stakes in market leaders.
Gulf Capital is actively targeting investments within the fast growing and defensive healthcare sector and has identified the fertility sub-sector as a key focus priority, given its expected double-digit growth rates across the region. With increased awareness coupled with the technological advancements in the field, the fertility sector in the GCC is forecasted to continue to grow at 15%+ CAGR annually over the next 5 years.
Launched in early 2016, IVI-RMA Middle East has established itself as the fastest growing IVF service provider in the UAE and Oman, growing at a 50% CAGR since inception, on the strength of very high success rates relative to industry peers. With over 1200+ pregnancies in less than four years, the provider’s success is driven by the scientific and personalised approach of a highly skilled medical team. With a focus on original research and publications, IVI-RMA Middle East has achieved the highest success rates in the region, with pregnancy and live birth rates that position it within the top-quartile globally. Gulf Capital will back the existing management team to continue to deliver best in class treatment and success rates and to roll out operations across the region.
The new chapter of IVI-RMA Middle East will see the implementation of an ambitious three-year plan. The plan will see the launch of a new platform-wide brand identity in 2020, the inauguration of a state-of-the-art genetics lab in Abu Dhabi, and expanding the number of clinics by more than three-fold to nine clinics taking the provider to new markets in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. The company and Gulf Capital will also be opportunistically looking at acquisitions in other geographies.
Dr Karim El Solh, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Capital, said: “We are thrilled to back the strongest management and medical team within the IVF sector regionally. This transaction exemplifies Gulf Capital’s tried and tested strategy of acquiring controlling stakes in market leading companies in high growth sectors. IVI-RMA Middle East is the fastest growing IVF service provider in the GCC, and we are excited to be collaborating with its strong management team to take this platform to the next level. The investment in IVI-RMA Middle East is Gulf Capital’s largest equity investment to date and is the first corporate carve-out in our Firm’s history.”
Dr (Professor) Human Fatemi, Medical Director for IVI-RMA Middle East, remarked: “Over the past few years, the uptake of assisted reproduction methods to conceive has increased exponentially in the GCC, especially among the urban population. Infertility in the Middle East has been on the rise due to the ever-evolving lifestyle patterns and other disorders. However, most of the treatment protocols are based upon western treatment plans. While the IVF market in the GCC is growing rapidly, there is a clear need to address issues like standardised clinical protocols, structured training, genetic laboratories and ethical practices. At IVI-RMA Middle East, we are undertaking fundamental research across all related areas including genetics research based upon our observations and trials locally. It has been our constant endeavour to assist more and more couples to fulfill their dream of starting a family by providing the most advanced fertility treatments in accordance with international guidelines, coupled with the right technology. Our partnership with Gulf Capital shall help us offer our services to an even broader segment of the population.”
Suresh Soni, CEO of IVI-RMA Middle East, said: “We are excited to partner with Gulf Capital as we embark on our next phase of expansion and growth. We share a common vision: ‘Paulatim ergo certe’… Slowly therefore surely. The cornerstone of our success is good science and technology, which translates into the best medical outcomes for our patients. We have world-renowned IVF specialists and embryologists working in state-of-the-art facilities. We shall continue to deliver the best treatments and services to our patients so that they receive the best value for their money. Our partnership with Gulf Capital, which has a storied and long history of value addition and operational expertise, will help accelerate our growth internationally and position us as one of the largest global IVF fertility platforms.”
Hazem Abu Khalaf, Managing Director at Gulf Capital, added: “We were very impressed by what Suresh Soni and Dr. Human Fatemi have been able to accomplish in such a short period of time. IVI-RMA Middle East’s research focused and patient centric approach has allowed it to build an impressive track record that compares favourably even with the best IVF centers globally. With a regional market expected to continue to expand at a double-digit growth rates over the next five years, we are confident that our partnership will enable the team to expand its coverage and services into new territories globally and to deliver market leading success and live birth rates. We are enthusiastic about our future plans together and look forward to working closely with the team on this new phase of growth.”
Gulf Capital was advised by Allen & Overy and PwC. The selling shareholders of IVI-RMA Middle East were advised by Lincoln International, Clyde & Co and Ernst & Young.