BRUSSELS - Belgian film and printer company Agfa-Gevaert said it has signed a deal worth up to $500 million to have its hospital imaging systems distributed in China, seen as a critical emerging market for healthcare.

The company, which also specialises in top-end printers for publishers and newspapers, said that under the four-year agreement, its Chinese partners would be responsible for the sale, distribution, installation and servicing of the healthcare products.

Chief Executive Jo Cornu said in a statement: The Chinese government will invest over $124 billion in healthcare over the coming three years and will build 5,000 new hospitals, primarily in rural regions ... Agfa HealthCare will play an instant and important role in this project.

By 1338 GMT shares in the company were up 0.2 percent to 4.46 euros per share, exactly in line with the Belgian Mid-Cap index .BELM. (Reporting by Ben Deighton; Editing by Greg Mahlich)