Gujarat-based healthcare provider Sterling Addlife India Ltd, which operates a chain of hospitals under Sterling Hospitals banner, is stepping foot into diagnostics business. This marks an extension in the healthcare space for its promoter Girish Patel, who previously sold Paras Pharma to Reckitt Benckiser.

Sterling Addlife has created a new firm Sterling Accuris Wellness Ltd which would provide radiology and pathology among other diagnostics services starting with its home state.

It plans to set up six centres along with 20 small centres by 2017. Though its current focus is in cities like Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot and Surat in Gujarat, it plans to enter neighbouring states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in the long run.

The initial investment for this business is estimated to be around Rs 30 crore.

Sterling Addlife was previously backed by emerging markets private equity major Actis. Its stake was bought over by Patel.

Actis had originally picked 46 per cent stake in the firm and gradually hiked it to 82 per cent.

The PE firm had invested in the healthcare firm at the same time it backed consumer healthcare and FMCG firm Paras Pharma, which was also promoted by Patel.

Sterling Addlife reported a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 22 per cent in its operating income during FY10-FY13, aided by continuous addition of number of operational beds. It grew at around 17 per cent in FY13 over FY12 on the back of income growth from new hospitals.

The firm had total operating income of Rs 274.23 crore with profit after tax of Rs 6.08 crore in FY13.

Its entry into diagnostics will expand the scope of its business while adding to the number of players in the sector. Diagnostic services happen to be a fast-growing space within healthcare and currently dominated by the likes of SRL and Dr Lal Pathlabs among others such as Thyrocare and Metropolis. SRL is part of another hospital chain Fortis.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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