RIYADH, May 2 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health has received at least six bids to act as financial adviser for the privatisation of 55 primary healthcare centres in Riyadh, banking sources said.
The privatisation, which is expected to run into billions of riyals, is part of the government’s plan to ease the strain on state coffers from low oil prices by placing industries ranging from healthcare to airports in private hands.
Albilad Capital, NCB Capital, Gulf International Bank Capital, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Banque Saudi Fransi all submitted bids by the deadline of April 26 to act as financial adviser for the programme, the sources said.
Each bidder is teaming up with a technical adviser for the project, said one of the sources.
The Ministry of Health did not respond to a request for comment.
The government will decide within the next 45 days which of the bids it intends to proceed with, one of the sources said.
The government views healthcare as the sector with the best potential for privatisations and is studying whether to sell off all public hospitals and 200,000 pharmacies, Vice Minister for Economy and Planning Mohammed al-Tuwaijri told Reuters on April 27.
The kingdom faces rising medical expenses related to areas such as accidents, smoking and obesity. Health Minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah was quoted by Arab News on April 25 as estimating that medical costs would rise to about 250 billion riyals by 2030. (Reporting by Tom Arnold; Editing by Mark Potter)