The government already has its investor for Gozo hospital: Oxley Capital Group

Published: March 20, 2015 at 1:03am

The call for expressions of interest from those who wish to invest 200 million euros in refurbishing Gozo General (Craig), St Luke’s and Karin Grech hospitals, which the government said yesterday it will make “in 10 days’ time” is – in the case of Gozo General Hospital at least, a stalking-horse.

The government has struck a deal already with Oxley Capital Group of Singapore. Executives from that company were in Malta two months ago for meetings. They are represented in Malta by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The agreement is that Oxley Capital Group – which is not involved in hospitals or medical care, but is a private investment firm – will put up the money for the refurbishment of Gozo General and the building of a new wing.

The management of the hospital will then devolve to Barts.

Unfortunately, the missing bits of information which I still don’t have – because the prime minister’s head of communications, Kurt Farrugia, has not responded yet to the message I sent him several hours ago – is how the financial relationship between the three parties (Malta government, Barts and Oxley Capital) will work.

Who is paying whom to do what? Given that Oxley Capital is an investment company, what are the terms under which it will recoup its investment and make a profit? Is it actually going to invest in the project, or is it just going to finance it (lending the government the money to do the work, so to speak, which the government will then have to pay back with interest)?

Given that a deal has been struck already, any call for expressions of interest, for this particular hospital at least, would be obscene – the gas-fired power station all over again, making companies jump through hoops and deadlines while wasting money and man-hours to prepare documents pointlessly because they are led to think they are contenders when they can’t be because there is a sole contender who has been chosen ahead of the game.