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Foundation Holdings leads investment in eye-care firm ASG Hospital
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UAE-based family investment office Foundation Holdings has led a funding round in ASG Hospital Pvt. Ltd, the transaction bumping up the number of fundraisings in India’s eye-care sector to five deals.  

ASG Hospital said it has raised Rs 308 crore ($43 million at current exchange rate) from Foundation Holdings and Symphony International Holdings Ltd.

The investment will help ASG Hospital to pursue organic and inorganic expansion, said Aakash Sachdev, managing director, Foundation Holdings.

ASG Hospital, which was founded in 2005 by Arun Singhvi and Shashank Gang, currently has a network of 33 hospitals across 13 states in India. In addition, it has centres abroad in Kampala (Uganda) and Kathmandu (Nepal).

The eye-care chain had received its first external funding of about $11 million in two tranches from Sequoia Capital India Advisors Pvt. Ltd in 2012, according to VCCEdge, the data and research platform of Mosaic Digital.

In 2017, private equity firm IDFC Alternatives invested Rs 75 crore ($11 million) for a minority stake in ASG Hospital.

In 2016, Foundation Holdings had said it was aiming to deploy $275 million over the next five years in healthcare, consumer and education sectors in India.

"The emerging markets’ ophthalmology and single-speciality healthcare sector have been in our sight for years," said Abhishek Sharma, chief executive of Foundation Holdings.

Foundation Holdings closed its maiden education transaction in India earlier in July 2019, the statement said, without elaborating further.

Deals in the eye-care space

India’s eye-care segment has once again attracted private equity funding after a prolonged lull.

In June 2019, IIFL Asset Management Ltd acquired a majority stake in Infigo Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd, which is promoted by Shridhar Thakur, former chief operating officer of eye-care chain Vasan Healthcare, and Anil Kamath, former managing director at Wockhardt Hospitals.

In the same month, Disha Medical Services Pvt. Ltd, an eye-care chain focused on affordable treatment in underserved markets under the brand Drishti, raised $4 million in its Series C round of funding.

In May, Mahindra Partners, the private equity arm of diversified Mahindra Group, invested Rs 206.5 crore (around $30 million) in New Delhi-based eye-care chain Centre for Sight. This deal had also paved the way for the full exit of venture capital firm Matrix Partners India.

In February, VCCircle reported that Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings had invested Rs 270 crore ($38 million) in Dr. Agarwal's Eye Hospital.

A VCCircle analysis of the eye-care segment published in April showed that the collective growth in net sales of six players (five investor-backed chains and one not backed by external investor) slowed to 8.2% for the financial year ended 2017-18 from 14% and 13.3% in the previous two years.

To discuss the business opportunity and the challenges in the healthcare sector, VCCircle is organising its next edition of Healthcare Investment Summit on October 11 in Mumbai. Check out the details here.

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