PTI Aug 20, 2019, 03.53 PM IST
MUMBAI: The Kochi-based Aster DM Healthcare, one of the few publicly traded hospital chains in the country, is planning to add over 2,000 beds at an investment of over Rs 1,000 crore in the next two to three years in five new properties outside Kerala.
The hospital chain, which began in Dubai as a drug distributor in 1987, will add one more facility each in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai and two more in Andhra.
The chain currently operates six hospitals in the country with 4,500 beds, of which 3,000 beds are in Kerala and the rest in three other states. It also operates 1,000 beds across six hospitals in the Gulf which is its cash-cow with over 70 percent fo revenue flow, spanning all GCC countries.
"We are investing over Rs 1,000 crore to add over 2,000 beds to our existing 4,500 beds in the next two-three years. These hospitals will be on an asset-light model, where we will be operating and managing the facility. Chennai will have the first of these new hospitals at an investment of over Rs 550 crore," Aster DM Healthcare founder and chairman Azad Moopen told PTI in an interaction.
Aster already runs two facilities with 500 beds in Bengaluru, one each in Vijayawada and Gutur in Andhra and a 300-bed facility in Kohlapur in southern Maharashtra.
While Dr Moopen and his family own 38 percent, Aster counts PE majors Olympus Capital which owns around 23 percent and True North which had held 10.4 percent but had sold 7 percent in June as its investors.
The 500-beds Chennai facility will be operational over the next 30 months, Moopen said, adding the Rs 1,000-crore capex plan does not include the 500-beds upcoming facility in the Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram.
It can be noted that Aster's largest facility in Kochi with 670 beds was in headlines recently after it successfully treated a youth for the deadly Nipah virus. The patient was wheeled in early June with the symptoms of the deadly virus, which had taken 18 lives last year in the state.
After being treated for 53 days, the patient walked home on July 23 and thanks to this hospital, the state didn't report any other Nipah case this year.
On expansion into other markets, Dr Harish Pillai, chief executive at Aster India told PTI that they are keen to enter Mumbai, as it has major plans to tap the growing heath tourism, but lack of a ready infrastructure and the extremely high rentals are a roadblock for them.
"But we are more sure of entering Kolkata and Pune now " Pillai added.
The Aster DM Group, which runs 25 hospitals, 115 clinics and over 231 pharmacies in nine countries, is also planning to launch a large clinical lab chain in Bengaluru as a new vertical, Moopen said, adding he has already hired the top management and will begin operations soon.
The proposed lab will compete with SRL Ranbaxy, Dr Pathlabs, and Way2health, among others and will have collection centres across Bangalore and will also service the group's hospitals and others, he said.
For June quarter Aster reported a net income of Rs 25 crore on a revenue of Rs 2,028.6 crore that rose 14.3 percent.
But Moopen is confident of the numbers improving going ahead and has set a target of 15-20 percent Ebitda growth this year at Rs 1,000 crore as against Rs 840 crore in FY19.
The Kochi hospital, inaugurated in September 2014 has plans to add 500 more in the second phase. It also boasts of the largest medical emergency in the country with 18 beds.
The group's other facilities in Kerala include hospitals in Kozhikode, Kannur and Kottakkal, and a medical college in the hilly Wayanad.
Aster Healthcare went public in February 2018 with a Rs 980-crore IPO. Its shares rose 1.4 percent to Rs 122.05 on BSE while the benchmark was down 0.2 percent.