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Emami-backed AMRI Hospitals, a Kolkata-based healthcare venture, is looking to raise up to Rs 100 crore in private equity funding to expand its footprint. AMRI currently has a  capacity of 560 beds across two hospitals in Kolkata.

AMRI has mandated an investment bank for fund-raising that will lead to a minority stake dilution. Diversified conglomerate Emami controls 66% stake in AMRI while Kolkata developer Shrachi (30%) and West Bengal government (4%) are the other shareholders.

Sources said, the fund-raising should be viewed in context of the upcoming greenfield hospitals in Bubhaneshwar, Orissa and Burdwan in West Bengal. AMRI plans to build a 300-bed super specialty hospital in Bubhaneshwar and another 270-bed super specialty hospital in Kolkata. These projects together attract capex of Rs 550 crore.

Emails sent to Emami group and AMRI hospitals did not elicit a response at the time of publication of this article.

In 2006, AMRI hospital promoter acquired Kolkata's Suraksha hospital for Rs 32 crore, which has now become AMRI Salt Lake. This hospital was merged in 2008 to form AMRI Hospitals to leverage operating synergies. It also owns a diagnostic and day-care facility   in Kolkata.

AMRI Hospitals reported revenues of around Rs 150 crore in FY09, a growth of nearly 25%.

Emami group, which started as an FMCG firm, has diversified into areas like papers, bio-diesel and real estate. The group is promoted by Agarwal and Goenka family. Shrachi group has businesses in sectors like agro-machinery, real estate, information technology and engineering. Shrachi Developers, a group company, raised PE funding from JM Financial's realty fund Infinite India in 2007.

In a recent Economic Times report, AMRI director Manish Goenka said the firm is also exploring inorganic opportunities in cities like Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore. AMRI is also looking to set up hospitals in Chattisgarh, Silguri and Bihar.   

Private equity investors are increasingly eyeing the healthcare services firms in India though investments in hospital chains have been inconsistent. While a number of funds invested aggressively in 2007 and 2008, the focus seems to be shifting to asset light models like diagnostics and day care surgery firms. These chains can expand more quickly and have a relatively smaller capex.

Healthcare providers and services firms raised $249 million across 10 deals till now in calendar year 2010, according to VCCEdge. Some of the recent deals include $85 million stake acquisition by Warburg Pincus diagnostic services major Metropolis Healthcare and NEA's $21 million investment in day care surgery chain Nova Medical.

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