NRI-founded Aster plans Saudi expansion after completing separation of India operations



Founded in 1987 by Dr. Azad Moopen, Aster DM Healthcare Limited was started as a single clinic in Dubai, driven by a vision to make high-quality healthcare accessible to everyone. The company has grown into one of the trusted healthcare brands in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and India. The GCC network alone comprises 15 hospitals, 117 clinics and 285 pharmacies, spread across the UAE, KSA, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain. Aster GCC is all set to embark on an ambitious expansion plan across the Gulf region, especially in Saudi Arabia.

In this scenario, Aster has announced the separation of its GCC and India businesses into two distinct and standalone entities. Under the separation plan, a consortium of investors led by Fajr Capital, a sovereign-backed private equity firm, has acquired a 65% stake in Aster GCC, with the Moopen family retaining a 35% stake alongside management and operational rights, while continuing to manage and operate the company.

Fajr Capital-led consortium, which includes Emirates Investment Authority, Al Dhow Holding Company (the investment arm of AlSayer Group), Hana Investment Company (a subsidiary of Olayan Financing Company) and Wafra International Investment Company, completes the acquisition of the remaining 65% stake in Aster GCC.

In November 2023, the company obtained board approvals to separate its GCC and India businesses. The plan was also approved by the company’s shareholders in January this year. The transaction was subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions, all of which have been fulfilled. Dr. Azad Moopen will remain the founder-chairman and Ms. Alisha Moopen will serve as the Managing Director and Group CEO of Aster GCC.

Together with the new shareholders, the Moopen family and Aster GCC’s management team will now embark on an ambitious regional expansion strategy. In the UAE, the company will shortly unveil Medcare Royal Hospital, a 126-bed super specialty hospital in Al Qusais, which will be a world-class destination for tertiary and quaternary care catering to local and international patients. Meanwhile, the Aster Pharmacy business in Saudi Arabia is poised for substantial growth, with 180 new retail stores set to open within the next three to five years. Additionally, Aster Sanad Hospital in Riyadh is set to expand its bed capacity to serve a larger population segment.

Dr. Azad Moopen has said that they are confident that their demonstrated expertise will empower further expansion plans within GCC’s dynamic healthcare landscape, especially in Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Iqbal Khan, CEO of Fajr Capital has added that they are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Aster, which has “emerged as a healthcare champion in the GCC and benefits from a strong market presence, exceptional workforce and an unwavering commitment to providing the highest quality of healthcare to the regional population”. –


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