Apollo Health in talks for PE funding

The country's top hospital firm Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd is looking to invest up to Rs 500 crore ($77 million) to expand its healthcare clinic chain and is in talks for private equity funding for the same, it said on Thursday.

The company's clinical subsidiary Apollo Health and Lifestyle Ltd will use the funding to expand its network that currently straddles nearly 600 centres, including day care surgery, cosmetology and dental clinics under various brands. It also operates a women and child vertical under Apollo Cradle that includes obstetrics, gynaecology, infertility treatment, neonatal and paediatrics sections.

In the primary care space, it currently has five formats - Apollo Clinics, Apollo Sugar, Apollo Diagnostics, Apollo White and Apollo Dialysis. 

Early this year, drugmaker Sanofi had invested Rs 90 crore to buy 20 per cent stake in Apollo Sugar Clinics Ltd, a diabetes care clinic chain operator.

"We are seeing a change happening across sectors like banking where people don't go to the bank but go to the ATM; even in hospital, the care is moving from hospital to clinic and ultimately home," Sangita Reddy, joint managing director at Apollo Hospitals, told The Economic Times that first reported the news.

Apollo Health was started in 2002 to bring medical care closer to the home of the patient, bridging the gap between tertiary care and the home. Besides India, it operates in the Middle East.

The funding will also allow it to take on the rising competition from healthcare startups that are catering to patients at their homes. Ventures like Portea and Medwell have also raised private equity funding to scale up their operations.

Apollo Hospitals as a group has previously raised funding from Apax Partners (that has exited) and more recently the promoters of the firm raised funding from KKR for their privately held holding firm. KKR holds the rights to pick a stake in the public listed flagship in the future.

Meanwhile, the firm has been active in expanding beyond its core multi-specialty hospital business. Early this year, Apollo had acquired Nova Specialty Hospitals, the short-stay surgical centre unit of Nova Medical Centers Pvt Ltd, for around Rs 145 crore.

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