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Lulu Group arm VPS Healthcare earmarks Rs 1,000cr for buyout opportunities in domestic hospitals space

Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017,12:40 IST By anju A A A

Mumbai | The son-in-law of the Lulu Group founder MA Yuzuf Ali and founder of VPS Healthcare Group, Shamsheer Vayalil, featured at the 94th slot in the Forbes’ 2017 Indian rich list, has created a Rs 1,000-crore war-chest to tap takeover opportunities in the domestic healthcare mart.

The Abu Dhabi-based VPS Healthcare, with over a USD 1 billion turnover, is an integrated healthcare provider with primary, secondary and tertiary care hospitals and clinics as well as drug manufacturing and pharma retailing, in the Gulf region, India and Europe, and runs four hospitals in the country — three in Delhi-NCR region and one in Kochi.

Since its inception in 2007, VPS has grown into one of the UAE’s premier integrated healthcare groups and currently owns 22 hospitals under 13 brands, over 125 medical centres and employs 13,000, including over 1,800 doctors.

The group runs four facilities in the country — three in the Delhi-NCR region under the VPS Rockland label (Qutab area and Dwarka in the Capital and one at Manesar in Haryana), and VPS Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi.

“We’ve set aside Rs 1,000 crore for acquisitions in the country. We are in talks with three-four hospital and over the next one year, we should have at least three more hospitals here,” Vayalil told PTI from his Abu Dhabi headquarters.

The group has already invested over Rs 1,750 crore in these two hospital brands in the country.

“We’ve already pumped over Rs 750 crore into the 800- bed Rockland Hospital chain in which we own 100 per cent and around Rs 1,000 crore in the 600-beds Kochi facility where we own the majority stake,” the Kozhikode-born Vayalil said.

On expansion, Vayalil, worth USD 1.57 billion this year and who is also an avid marathon runner, said the plan is “to take the existing capacity to 5,000 beds in the country over the next three years, hence the focus on inorganic growth”.

Another three growth areas that he is looking at is medical tourism, especially in Kochi, and rapid expansion of his drug manufacturing arm with focus on oncology and vaccines and highly specialised R&D, apart from O&M (operations and maintenance) opportunities.

The group already has one of the largest manufacturing facilities in Dubai, which it had bought from Cipla three years ago. The plant currently makes generics medicines for cardio-vascular, diabetes, and other lifestyle diseases.

As much as 90 per cent of the group’s over USD 1 billion revenue comes from hospitals now and the rest from pharma manufacturing and drug retailing, said Vayalil, who was featured in the 2016 Forbes rich at 98 last year. His plan is to double the non-hospital revenue in the next few years.

It can be recalled that his Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi was in the international press for freely treating the world’s heaviest woman, the Egyptian Eman Ahmed until her death last month after being shifted from Mumbai’s Saifi Hospital where she had a weight reduction surgery.

Recently, the group completed the largest surgery centre at Reem Island in Abu Dhabi and a premium Burjeel Hospital in Al Ain . Its upcoming projects include the Burjeel Medical City — a 400-bed hospital dedicated to oncology — and the first pharma plant in the GCC to manufacture oncology drugs both of which will be operational early next year, Vayalil said.

Vayalil’s father-in-law is the Gulf retailing billionaire MA Yusuff Ali, known for his Lulu Group which is the largest employer in the non-manufacturing sector in GCC.

Vayalil, an MD in radiology, was also in news recently for spearheading a PIL in the Supreme Court for getting voting rights for the diaspora.