Interview with Mr. Hatim Alsharreif
CHIEF COORDINATING OFFICER (CCO) AL HAMMAD MEDICAL SERVICES
In the midst of a health revolution in Saudi Arabia with an expenditure budget for 2011 that reaches SAR 70 billion after the addition of an extra SAR 20 billion announced by the King a couple of months ago, companies like Al Hammad Medical Services (HMS) are targeting growth rates that over pass a comfortable 20 percent. With hundreds of hospitals and five new medical cities under construction there is little space for hesitation when it comes to invest or expand.
Since its inception in the market in 1989 Al Hammad Medical Services has reinvented itself many times but it was in 1995 when the company started a new generation of business adding to the disposable items distribution medical and laboratory equipment and infant food. Today it has 150 employees, five branches, a turnover of about SAR170 millions and a plan to grow over 20 percent adding new businesses to the ones already established and successful.
“Our target in 2011 is to grow from 15 to 20 percent adding more agents, more products and a different sector: the dental sector. We are growing”, says Mr. Hatim Alsharreif, CCO of Al Hammad Medical Services one of the leading health products distributors in the kingdom.
HMS is a medical division of Al Hammad Group of companies based in Riyadh and founded by Eng. Mohammed Al-Hammad in 1987. The company has 5 main divisions. The pharmaceutical division distributes non-registered products from various American and European suppliers through its chain of pharmacies while the IT division provides a broad range of computing, technical and telecommunications support services to Al Hammad Medical services Co (HMS) staff. Other divisions include and medical equipment, medical supplies and disposables distribution and consumer health.
“The health sector is booming now in Saudi Arabia and we expect that, in the next five years, the number of hospitals will double. There are now around 39,000 beds in the Kingdom but the government wants to increase that number to 75,000 within five years. The are now plans to build 200 more hospitals of 50 to 800 beds each plus the hospitals covering the military sector, the national guard, the security forces, the universities and of course the private sector that is also expanding”, continues Mr. Alsharreif. “We see more and more private hospitals in the Kingdom with about 200 more beds coming in the Western area and the same quantity in the Eastern area” he predicts.
The healthcare sector in Saudi Arabia is growing in all directions. It is also expanding specialised treatment to the most remote regions and starting the replacement of old medical equipment that has to adapt to the new international regulations stated by the WTO. At the same time, the system is also adding new educational centres as nursing colleges, pharmacist colleges or medical colleges to overcome the sharp shortage of qualified workforce that has to be imported at the moment against the saudisation movement established in the Kingdom long ago but with little result.
“The new strategy and investment will be reflected in the sector in the next five years and actually during the past two years we have been witnessing international companies moving to KSA looking for partners or merging with local companies to cover not only Saudi Arabia but all Middle East and North of Africa (MENA) area”, explains Mr. Alsharreif. “Even some big international companies are considering seriously to open their manufacture facilities here to reduce the cost of transportation and also because the recession in the Eastern World has put more pressure on the need of opening new markets… and one of the fastest growing market in the world right now is the MENA region. So I think the greatest potential of the sector lays in the Middle East”, he concludes.
The space to grow in the manufacturing of medical products sector in Saudi Arabia remains very attractive. With the government incentives plus the low energy prices, the opportunity presents itself clearly given the fact that 90 percent of the medical products distributed in the Kingdom are imported from the outside.
But, despite of all the changes in the sector and the increase of competition, Al Hammad Medical Services is “already well positioned, has the best partners and distributes the highest quality products”, comments Mr. Alsharreif.and adds: “we are not afraid of the competition as we have a big market, the best quality of products and qualified people”
“We work in a sector that can not be price oriented. In the health sector you are talking about patients not customers and they can be your own
family. It is not just a trading business it is a service for your people and for your country. That is why our target is to improve the quality of life of our patients and to help them recover
faster,” emphasizes the CCO of Al Hammad Medical Services.
For more info: http://www.alhammadmedical.com/eng/eng_home.htm
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