Swedish firm company Medicover Healthcare is set to launch its fertility business in India with an initial investment of $100 million that will take on some of the PE-backed IVF firms and a host of other companies operating in a fragmented market.
"The company is looking at having 50 green-field Medicover Fertility clinics in three years," said Felipe Velasquez, commercial director - Medicover Division.
“Of the 50 clinics, the company will open four—two in Delhi and one each in Noida and Gurgaon—in two months and aims to have 10 clinics by the end of the year,” he said.
It plans to open the other clinics in Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, and then enter Maharashtra and Rajasthan in the following years.
“The investments for setting up the clinics will come fully from Medicover, which is run by a Swedish family. The size of the clinics will vary from place to place depending on market need,” Velasquez said.
IVF market opportunity
The IVF market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20 per cent from 100,000 cycles currently to 260,000 cycles in 2020, according to an EY report in 2015.
"There are around 30 million infertile couples in the country and only 150,000 of them are being taken care of. Though there are a lot of players in the market, there is the big demand out there that needs to be met," said Velasquez. "We have a growing economy, and with changing lifestyles like women wanting to focus on their career before having babies, the market opportunity is only going to rise," he said, adding that Medicover Fertility will focus on the premium market.
The cost of IVF treatment, which range from Rs 150,000 to Rs 200,000 per IVF cycle in India, is three-four times lower than in the US. Despite the relatively lower cost, the treatment is unaffordable for 80 per cent of the population as service providers target people with higher disposable income.
“The lower cost in India compared with other countries also makes the country an attractive medical tourism destination and Medicover will tap into it,” Velasquez said.
The IVF market is highly fragmented with both domestic and a handful of foreign companies offering services.
Bourn Hall India, part of the UK-based healthcare services firm Bourn Hall International, and Nova IVI Fertility, a joint venture between Nova Medical Centers Pvt Ltd and Spanish IVF technology firm IVI, are among the major players in the space. Notably, Bourn Hall India is backed by private equity firm TVM Capital MENA. India's bigger hospital chains, including Apollo Hospitals and Max Healthcare, also offer IVF services.
"Though the market is large, we have a few competitors; Bourn Hall and Nova IVI are among of them," Velasquez said.
Indian companies such as Cloudnine Hospitals, which is mainly focused on birthing, and Rainbow Hospitals, which mainly provides paediatric services, also offer IVF services. In a recent interaction with VCCircle,
Kishore Kumar, co-founder and chairman of Cloudnine Hospitals said that it will expand its IVF business further.
Commenting on competition from these companies, Gaurav Malhotra, managing director of Medicover Fertility, said, "Cloudnine is a PE-funded company; so after three or five years, the PE firm would want returns. Ours is a family-owned business; so we are here for a long term."
Malhotra, who was earlier MD and CEO of Bourn Hall India, said Medicover has hired a clinical director who was earlier associated with Bourn Hall India.
Malhotra was also MD and CEO of Patni Healthcare Ltd, CEO of Medfort Hospital, business head - South Asia for Bausch & Lomb and business director for Johnson & Johnson Medical.
“Medicover, which is present in 15 countries including India, aims to clock revenues of $100 million in three years,” said John Stubbington, CEO of Medicover Division. He said Medicover will not enter other segments such as diagnostics and hospitals in India in the near term. It offers these services in the other regions it operates in.