LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - United Arab Emirates' Al Noor Hospitals Group, which last week agreed to be bought by South Africa's Mediclinic International, said VPS Healthcare has approached it with a "highly preliminary indication of interest".
VPS is Al Noor's third suitor after Mediclinic's 1.4 billion pound ($2.2 billion) bid was agreed despite a rival approach from NMC Health in a tussle for expansion in the fast-growing Gulf Region.
Privately-held UAE-based VPS has until 1700 GMT on Nov. 17 to announce a firm intention to make an offer for Al Noor under UK takeover rules.
NMC Health, already a major player in the UAE, has vowed to fight on, saying last Wednesday it remained committed to a tie-up with Al Noor.
Shares in Al Noor rose 2.5 percent to 1,192 pence, above the 1,160 pence cash offered in one of the alternatives proposed by Mediclinic. ($1 = 0.6453 pounds) (Reporting by Sarah Young, editing by Louise Heavens)