General Electric's Healthcare business, GE Healthcare is planning to acquire and provide seed capital to Indian medical device and diagnostic companies. The $17 billion healthcare company is looking at acquiring companies which either possess low cost solutions or have unique technology.

GE would target diagnostic equipment manufacturers in the local market that can complement its product portfolio and help expanding its rural network. GE Healthcare is looking at both organic expansion as well as strategic acquisitions.

The healthcare giant also plans to provide seed capital to Indian medical companies and pick up a majority stake in them.

It expects a major chunk of its growth to come from the expansion of its imaging and infant care products range in the tier II and III cities. The company expects its sales to increase to 50% of its total revenue by 2010 by expanding in to the rural areas.

Keeping with its strategy of viewing India as a low-cost solution market, GE launched its first fully digital X-Ray system, Tejas DR-F, in India.  The X-Ray system, expected to cost 40 percent lesser than imported digital machines, would be manufactured in India, and exported to Southeast Asia, Latin America, Russia, Eastern Europe and Africa.

GE Healthcare also plans to deploy its medical imaging and diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, and biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies in various states, under a private public partnership (PPP) model.

Indian medical equipment space has seen a lot of activity and consolidation led by the global healthcare biggies. Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Ltd acquired  Delhi-based Dade Behring Diagnostics India Pvt Ltd for Rs 45.10 crore. Philips acquired Indian medical device maker Meditronics for an undisclosed amount.

Philips also acquired Mumbai-based Alpha x-ray Technologies, engaged in the field of cardiovascular X-ray systems. Private equity backed Trivitron Medical Systems  acquired Pune-based X-ray machine manufacturing company, Vision Engineering  for Rs 10 crore.

GE Healthcare, Philips Medical Systems and Siemens AG occupy the top three slots in the Indian medical imaging market with almost equal market shares.

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