October 2009
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Asklepios poised to launch $100-200 mn India fund

Leading international clinic chain Asklepios International is gearing up for a foray into the Indian healthcare market. As part of the 2.3 billion euro group’s strategy to enter the sub-continent, Asklepios is mulling the launch of a $100 to $200 million fund, according to a person familiar with the development.

If this fund goes through, it would be the first German big-ticket investment in the $35-billion Indian healthcare segment. The Asklepios group has been scouting for anchor clients in India to firm up the venture, the source told ET on condition of anonymity.

It is learnt that the group has been engaged in talks with a few healthcare players from India as it looks to enter as a strategic investor, the source further said. Though fund launch is one plan, Asklepios is weighing other options too, including setting up a hospital, that would give it a foothold in the recession-proof healthcare segment.

According to a recent Technopak report, the sector is expected to breach the $75 billion mark by 2012. India would need to add 3.1 million beds by 2018 to the existing 1.1 million. This would call for immediate investments of $82 billion.

Incidentally, 12% of the $77 million venture capital investments in the July-September 2009 quarter was in the healthcare sector, notes a Venture Intelligence study. Touted as the biggest private clinic chain in Germany and Europe, purchase and acquisition of clinics and hospitals is Asklepios’ core competency. Earlier this year, Asklepios entered into a pact with GE to pilot the ‘Green Hospital’ project at one of Asklepios’ own hospital at Hamburg in Germany.

In India, it is evaluating the collaborative route with a reputed player so that it could be in sync with the local business practices and healthcare needs. When contacted by ET, Asklepios MD Dr Jochen Schmidt, who was in India last month, said he would respond by mail. However, an email sent to him last month did not elicit any response. Attempts to reach him through phone and mail thereafter have not yielded any response either. Dr Schmidt took charge of the operations in January this year.

It is further understood that Credit Suisse has been mandated to scout for an Indian partner. But Credit Suisse MD Sughosh Moharikar, when contacted, remained tight-lipped on the issue. Apparently, Asklepios has appointed two officials in Delhi. The German clinic chain could settle for a partner from the north, which is perhaps why the officials have been placed in the capital, an industry tracker said.

Asklepios has over 90 facilities, more than 30 day hospitals, 20,000 beds and 34,000 employees in Germany, Europe and the US. Keen on investing in prospering emerging markets, it has said it would replicate its expansion strategy in Germany in other parts of the globe also to strengthen its presence.

Source: Economic Times

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