* New rules aim to cut red tape, boost investment
* Healthcare, education eyed by private equity investors
* New city hospitals in the pipeline
By Ozge Ozbilgin
ANKARA, Feb 22 Turkey has passed new regulations
aimed at making private investment in its healthcare sector
easier, a move which officials hope could unlock billions of
dollars of investment over the next few years.
Turkey's private healthcare sector is growing rapidly, with
more people taking out private health insurance and long waiting
times at state hospitals, but the lack of a clear regulatory
framework has been a barrier to foreign investment.
Private equity investors favour Turkey's fast growing
services industries, including healthcare and education, drawn
by a near tripling in nominal per capita GDP over the past
decade and its young population of 75 million.
Under the new law on public-private partnerships (PPP),
passed by parliament late on Thursday, the state will rent city
hospitals built and run by the private sector for 25 years.
The new rules aim to cut red tape and pave the way for
government guarantees for international project financing
investments of 500 million lira ($279 million) and above.
"The regulation will have a positive impact on the sector as
it will remove delays caused by the previous rules and reduce
the number of permissions needed," said Tunc Duygun, PPP
coordinator for the YDA Insaat construction firm.
"Most importantly, the foreign investor will feel more
secure," said Duygun, whose company won four tenders to build
city hospitals with its Italian partner, privately-held Inso
Sistemi Per Le Infrastrutture.
Three Turkish hospitals are currently under construction
under a PPP framework, while six are in the contract stage,
seven in final bids stage and two still awaiting
pre-qualification applications. The projects are expected to add
28,000 beds to Turkey's existing 200,000-bed capacity.
The new rules aim to speed up the tender process.
"The world will have a different view of Turkish projects
once these regulations are in place," said another executive
from a private company working in the healthcare sector.
The three hospitals under construction include two in the
capital Ankara - one being built by a joint venture of Turkey's
IC Ictas and Dia Holding, the other by Italy's Astaldi
and Turkerler - and one in the central city of Kayseri, being
built by YDA Insaat and Inso Sistemi.
(Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Nick Tattersall)