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Pharmacy chain Guardian Lifecare plans to raise over $4M in fresh funding by early 2014 

The company is backed by PE firm Samara Capital and Mitsui Corporation.

Gurgaon-based Guardian Lifecare Pvt Ltd, which runs retail chain of health and wellness stores, is planning to raise around Rs 30 crore ($4.46 million) in fresh private equity funding in the next five to eight months for its national expansion plan, founder of the company told VCCircle.

“We are planning to build 30 to 50 stores every year depending on getting the right kind of locations, right prices and so on,” said Ashutosh Garg, chairman and founder of Guardian Lifecare.

At present the company has over 180 stores located in over 26 cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Noida, Meerut and Jaipur among others.

“We are planning to expand all over the country. We are already present in major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. We will continue to focus in these markets and other large cities in the country. However, we haven’t yet targeted East but we plan to do so at a later stage,” he said.

The company invests around Rs 25 lakh for a typical 500 square feet store. However the investment per store would differ depending on the size of the store and location. Further, Garg informed that all the stores will be company owned and the property will be on long term lease.

“Our investment per year will depend on how much we expand every year. I think we would invest around Rs 15-18 crore for expansion every year,” Garg said.

Guardian Lifecare, which started with a single store in 2003, has raise two rounds of funding starting with Samara Capital which committed Rs 100 crore in the company in 2008. Last year, the company raised Rs 30 crore from Japanese conglomerate Mitsui Corporation.

For the proposed fresh round of fund raising Guardian has not appointed any banker.

“We have not appointed anybody because we have been in the market for some time and we have a decent track record. We get a lot of calls from people who want to meet us and would like to invest in the company,” Garg said.

Guardian clocked revenue of around Rs 130 crore for FY13.

“Growth in revenue of the business will be for same store plus new store. We expect 25 per cent growth year-on-year,” he said.

Speaking about IPO plans of the company, Garg informed that the company is not looking at an IPO horizon for the next two to three years after which the board will take a decision.

Some other large organised sector players in the highly fragmented pharmacy business in the country include pharmacy arms of the two big hospital chains in the country Apollo and Fortis.

Guardian Lifecare Pvt. Ltd. owns and operates a chain of health, wellness and beauty stores. It offers drugs, vitamins and nutritional supplements, herbs and natural remedies, sexual health products, sports nutrition products, weight management products, beauty care products, toiletries, skin care products, quit smoking aids, mother and baby care products and self-diagnostic equipment. The firm also operates an online portal for selling its product. The company was founded in 2003 and is based in Gurgaon, Haryana.

Samara Capital Partners Fund II Ltd., is a $300 million private equity fund managed by Samara India Advisors Pvt. Ltd. It provides growth capital to companies operating in India. The fund seeks to invest in information technology and outsourcing, financial service and healthcare sectors.

Mitsui & Co Venture Partners, is the venture investment arm of Mitsui & Co., Ltd which invests in early stage companies. It invests in the fields of communication, software, information services, life science, medical device, and retail services. The firm was based in New York and Silicon Valley, USA.