NBK Capital Buys Stake in Turkish Medical Group, Plans IPO

(Reuters) – NBK Capital, an investment fund owned by National Bank of Kuwait (NBKK.KW), said on Tuesday it acquired a 30 percent stake in World Eye Hospital Group and may eventually hold a public offering in the Turkish company.

The value of the 30 percent stake in the closely held medical company was not clear.

“We will stay in this investment as long as we see value is created. Our fund has a long term view … regarding the exit,” Amjad Ahmad, head of NBK Capital’s alternative investments, told a news conference.

“We never looked at one exit. It could be strategic or it could be an initial public offering,” he said.

World Eye Chairman Eray Kapicioglu said the company plans an IPO for part of the remaining 70 percent stake after it completes investments, including opening surgical centres in Russia, Ukraine, Germany and the Netherlands.

Ahmad said the NBK Capital fund is worth $600 million and targets investment in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.

World Eye, which operates 15 hospitals in Turkey and overseas, plans investments of $20 million over the next 12 months, Kapicioglu said.

It targets revenue of $100 million this year, which it aims to double in 2011, he said.

The ophthalmology centre targets 50,000 foreign patients this year, Kapicioglu also said.

It presently treats 20,000 non-Turkish patients a year, including through “health tourism,” which brings patients from abroad for treatment, according to its website. (Reporting by Evren Ballim; Writing by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by David Holmes)