Turkey’s mega PPP hospital set to lure health tourists of the world

Nearly two years after construction began, financial close has been reached on what is claimed to be the biggest greenfield hospital project in the world, and one of the biggest healthcare public-private partnerships (PPPs) in Europe.

Around half a million people visited Turkey for surgical procedures in 2014, costing $1bn

A flagship project in Turkey’s ambitious hospital development programme, the $1.37bn Bilkent Integrated Healthcare Campus will cover more than 1.2 million sq m just outside Ankara.

As well as caring for Turkish citizens, Bilkent and other new mega hospitals like it will try and capture a share of the booming global medical tourism market.

With 100-plus operating theatres and 3,800 beds, Bilkent is expected to treat around 35,000 patients per day and employ approximately 8,000 staff when it is finished in three years, said UK consultancy Mott MacDonald, which is acting as the lenders’ technical advisor.

So central is it to Turkey’s healthcare plans that the Turkish Ministry of Health will have its own office building on site. Turkey has embarked on an $11.4bn (€10bn) programme to add an extra 26,000 hospital beds with the help of private finance. Comprising 30 new health campuses, it’s thought to be the largest healthcare PPP pipeline in the world.

In 2013 the Turkish parliament passed laws aimed at easing private sector investment in the sector.

Bilkent is the third major healthcare PPP deal in Turkey, following similar schemes in Adana and Mersin, each signed in December 2014.

The Bilkent site under construction in March 2015 (Dia Holding)

Long-term debt financing totaling $1bn (€890m) for Bilkent will be provided by Siemens Financial Services, Austria’s UniCredit and Turkish banks to build, equip and operate the campus for 25-years. Equity contribution by DÄ°A Holding completes the total funding of $1.37bn.

"The Turkish healthcare market is experiencing a tremendous transformation – a result of the government’s clear vision for ambitious healthcare reforms," said Anthony Casciano, chief executive of healthcare finance at Siemens Financial Services.

US-based construction consultancy Aecom is providing project management services for the Bilkent campus.

Taking advantage of its position as a global meeting point between East and West, Turkey aims to capitalise on a health tourism boom.

Of 40 million visitors to the country in 2014, around half a million came for surgical procedures ranging from hair transplants and liposuction to cancer treatment – a 75% increase in numbers from the year before. Health tourism revenues hit nearly $1bn last year.

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