PE-backed Aster DM Healthcare sells loss-making Kuwait subsidiary
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Aster DM Healthcare Ltd said it has sold its loss-making subsidiary in Kuwait to local companies as the healthcare operator seeks to exit the market there.

The healthcare firm was operating pharmacies in Kuwait through its subsidiary, Aster Kuwait Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment Company WLL, Aster DM said in a stock-exchange filing.

Aster DM Healthcare will receive around Kuwaiti Dinar 468,000 (roughly $1.5 million or Rs 11.34 crore at current exchange rates) from the sale of these units.

The buyers of the loss-making subsidiary include Pharmazone, a pharmacy chain in Kuwait, and Palestine Pharmacy Company, one of the leading medical distribution firms in the West Asian country.

The healthcare firm also expects to sell the final unit of Aster Kuwait for around Kuwaiti Dinar 15,000 (around $48,000 or Rs 36.34 lakh). However, it is yet to finalise a buyer for this pharmacy.

Aster Kuwait reported revenues of Rs 33.26 crore for the 2019 financial year, representing just 0.42% of the company’s consolidated revenues. The subsidiary has a negative net worth of Rs 26.58 crore, as per the filing.

Aster DM Healthcare is one of the largest private healthcare service providers in Asia with operations in India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. The company counts private equity firms True North and Olympus Capital among its investors. True North had first backed the hospital firm in 2008 while Olympus Capital came on board in 2012.

In 2019, True North sold most of its stake in the hospital company with benchmark returns. The PE firm held a 2.15% stake in Aster DM at the end of September, stock-exchange data showed. Olympus Capital owned around 23%.

Also near the end of last year, the company signed a pact to acquire Abu Dhabi-based Wahat Al Aman Home Healthcare LLC for an estimated amount of AED 105 million ($28.6 million or Rs 204 crore).

The acquisition marked Aster’s first since it floated its initial public offering in early 2018. Shares of the company were trading 0.42% up at Rs 95.85 apiece at the time of writing this report.

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