Multiples Private Equity, a $400-million fund started by Renuka Ramnath, is understood to be close to finalising a Rs 220-crore investment in Mysore-based super-speciality hospital chain Vikram Hospital Private Limited.
I-Ven Medicare, an arm of ICICI Venture, had invested close to Rs 100 crore in Vikram Hospital in early 2008. Ramnath was earlier heading ICICI Venture, and had started Multiples Private Equity in 2009.
It is learnt that there would be a primary investment of around Rs 50 crore to expand the hospital chain and Rs 160-180 crore in the secondary.
Vikram Hospital has seven super-speciality hospitals in Karnataka with a little over 500 beds. The investment would be used to add two more hospitals to the brand. Multiples, I-Ven and Vikram Hospital did not reply to emails.
The investment mirrors the trend of more private equity funds moving towards healthcare chains. Some of the recent major deals include Advent International’s $105-million investment in Hyderabad-based Care Hospitals; Olympus Capital funnelling in $100 million into DM Healthcare; and $100-million investment from India Value Fund into Manipal Hospitals.
According to a recent report from PwC, the healthcare and life sciences sector was the big winner in Q1 ’12, seeing a seven-fold increase in terms of value and a 27 per cent increase in terms of volume of deals ($530 million in 14 deals) compared with an investment of $80 million in 11 deals in the previous quarter. The average deal size for the sector increased to $38 million from $7 million in the previous quarter and $10 million for the same period last year.
Explaining the reasons for the sharp spike in PE funds flowing in to healthcare sector, Rana Mehta, Leader, Healthcare, PricewaterhouseCoopers India Pvt Ltd, said there is a rapid growth in healthcare services in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. “Traditionally, patients from these cities have come to metropolitan cities for treatment. Given these factors, the industry is probably at an inflection point and investors can expect healthy returns in what is one of the fastest growing markets in India,” he added. The focus is on low capital expenditure models, which drive operational efficiencies and provide faster returns, he said.
“The emergence of eye care, dental, cosmetic and day surgery centres is a testimony to the faith investors have in these models. Besides addressing the local needs, these innovative paradigms have the potential to be replicated in the developing world, thereby providing a model which transcends borders.”
Mehta said: “The Indian healthcare delivery sector provides compelling opportunities for corporate and financial investors as the country’s rising middle class with its high discretionary income demands access to high quality care. Among the BRIC nations, India has the lowest bed-to-population ratio. As a result, we now see rapid development of facilities in the hospital as well as in the ambulatory care environment.”