Saudi Arabia has long churned out fortunes built on oil and the business surrounding it. That’s changing dramatically as new business empires boom.

A hospital group is set to become the kingdom’s biggest listing of the year, turning its two top shareholders into billionaires. Brothers Mazen and Ammar Fakeeh, the sons of the physician who founded the Dr. Soliman Abdul Kader Fakeeh Hospital Co., will have a combined fortune of at least $2.5 billion after the sale, while their sister Manal will be worth some $600 million, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

It’s the latest example of rapid wealth creation in the Saudi health-care industry, which has already given the kingdom its second-richest person. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s push to make the economy less dependent on oil and turn Riyadh into another financial hub has led to a boom in initial public offerings that shows no sign of abating.

“Health care remains a key target for long-term privatization,” said Christine Kalindjian, an analysts at Arqaam Capital, adding that the kingdom aims to become self-sufficient in areas including generic drugs. “Family businesses line up to list stakes.”

A representative for Fakeeh Care Group declined to comment for this story. 

The health-care industry is one of the main focus areas in the crown prince’s trillion-dollar Vision 2030 plan as the kingdom prepares for a surge in population and longer life expectancy. Saudi Arabia created a program in 2021 to make the sector more efficient, and its Public Investment Fund last year set up an entity to attract pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

“There’s a commitment from the government to transition from being an operator of health-care assets to being a buyer of health-care services,” said Helmut Schuehsler, chairman and chief executive officer of TVM Capital Healthcare, an investment firm specialized in the sector. “We’re already seeing more entrepreneurship in health-care and more investors looking at this industry, so in the next 10 years we have high expectations of growth in private health care.”

Recent listings from the sector have done generally well, generating at least $16.7 billion of wealth for their top shareholders, based on stake values.

The boom is making health care more prominent: With Fakeeh Care Group’s share sale, the industry will account for around 7% of Saudi Arabia’s stock market value, excluding energy giant Saudi Aramco, according to Junaid Ansari,‚Äč director of investment strategy and research at Kamco Investment Co. And the trend is poised to continue, with the kingdom’s largest medical procurement firm, Nupco, expected to come to the market soon.

Soliman Fakeeh, a trained doctor, opened a clinic in Mecca in 1961 before founding Fakeeh Care Group in Jeddah 17 years later. His eldest son, Mazen, became chief executive officer in 2012 and oversaw an expansion that’s turned the group into one of the leading health-care companies in the kingdom, with 835 beds across four hospitals and five medical centers. Its medical college trains more than 1,400 students a year on average, and revenue grew 35% from 2020 to 2.3 billion riyals ($564 million) in 2023.

The group, which operates in Dubai too, is planning to double its bed capacity by 2028. It’s also pushing into medical tourism for Islamic visitors, offering treatments for pilgrims with packages that include everything from insurance to flight bookings and translators.

Together, Mazen Fakeeh and his two siblings own about 77% of the company. Mazen stepped down as CEO in 2017, after his father’s death in 2014, and is now managing director. He sits on Fakeeh Care Group’s board, with Ammar being chairman and Manal vice chair.

The family is selling 1.23 billion riyals of shares in the offering, which sold out shortly after books opened in May. The stock will start trading on the Saudi stock exchange on June 5.

“Saudi Arabia was an underserved market in terms of private health-care services,” Ansari said. “The ambitious plans and spending by the government towards the Vision 2030 plan would make health care a key sector with significant demand potential and growth opportunities.”

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.