Agnivesh Agarwal, son of Vedanta Group chief Anil Agarwal, has acquired 60 per cent stake in Chennai-based Primex Healthcare and Research Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed amount. Privately held Primex Group is into healthcare centres and diagnostics services business.

Primex Healthcare runs five healthcare centres in Chennai while the group company Primex Scan & Labs operates the diagnostics business. The Primex Group, which launched operations in August 2010, has built its business with an asset-light, partner-driven model through Primex Scans & Labs, and has expanded to 50 centres across Tamil Nadu.

During its initial phase of launch, the group has expanded into a slew of tier II and tier III towns in Tamil Nadu through its partner’s network. In the next phase, Primex Group will expand its presence outside Tamil Nadu and make foray into other southern states. As part of the expansion, the group plans to double the number of its healthcare centres to over 100 in the next 12-24 months. The new facilities will be a mix of partner-driven and company-owned units. The firm, however, has not specified how many centres will be directly under Primex Healthcare.

“India has a highly fragmented diagnostics services market with many local players and a few regional/national players. Services are costly and not in line with the purchasing power of most people. We were impressed with Primex Healthcare’s vision of providing low-cost healthcare services, one that is in perfect alignment with the ‘Creating Happiness,’ socially conscious healthcare initiatives we wish to promote,” said Agnivesh Agarwal.

As part of this strategic investment, Agarwal will join the board of Primex Healthcare as an executive director. While Agarwal will own 60 per cent stake, the remaining 40 per cent will be held by Primex Scans & Labs.

As Kalpathi Investments and the promoter group own 40 per cent each in Primex Scan, each will indirectly own around 15 per cent stake in Primex Healthcare. Kalpathi had acquired stake in Primex Scans & Labs in August 2010.

Anand Mahadevan, founder & CEO of the Primex Group, said, “We believe that the strategic investment from the Vedanta Group’s founding member will allow us to jointly set up and aggressively expand the growing network of our healthcare centres. We are confident of building India’s largest diagnostics network, offering quality diagnostics services at affordable prices to what we call the Real India.”

For the Vedanta Group, this would mean expanding beyond its core business of commodities. Other large players in healthcare and diagnostics space include Fortis, which is controlled by billionaire brothers Malvinder & Shivinder Singh, Reddy’s controlled Apollo Hospitals, Metropolis Healthcare, Manipal Health, Max Healthcare and Dr Lal PathLabs, among others. Almost all these firms have attracted private equity funding.

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