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Aakash Healthcare plans to expand focusing on three verticals in next two years

Gireesh Babu, New Delhi
Thursday, October 20, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Aakash Healthcare, started with a 230-bedded super speciality hospital launched in 2017 in the National Capital Region (NCR), is looking at expanding both in India and overseas with both multi speciality and single speciality models of healthcare facilities. The company will be using the funds from the sale of its educational business to Byju’s of late, to focus and invest into the healthcare sector, said Dr Aashish Chaudhry, managing director of the healthcare firm.

Plans are to focus on multi speciality hospitals with around 150-200 beds and speciality facilities for orthopaedic and mother and child care with 50 bed units, in the NCR region.

“There are expansion plans in these three verticals. We are not just looking at greenfield projects, but also at brownfield expansion as well,” he said. The mother and child care facilities will be under the brand Aakash Mommy, and will have IVF facilities, which is currently not catered by the hospital.

The company is in talks with some of the hospitals and have shortlisted a few on which it is working on at present.

“Hopefully by the end of the year we should be able to announce two or three projects including a greenfield orthopaedic hospital in Gurgaon. We have taken over another running facility, once we finalise the speciality mix we are going to announce it,” said Chaudhry.

While it has been scouting for brownfield projects for almost two years now, even during the Covid-19 times, many of the facilities come with financial liabilities which could make the projects unviable.

“We have been exploring the brownfield projects in the last one and a half to two years, even during the Covid time. There are several facilities, but most of the hospitals run by doctor couples or those who don’t have a good financial background to hold on to the loss for the first two to three years, those are the facilities which are available. They are well set up, but for want of additional cash flow, they are not able to sustain,” he said.

“I feel that in private healthcare, one should be entering into the market only when they know that they would be able to hold on till the break even and have enough capacity for expansion and some reasonable reserve cash flow to tide over the crisis. Health care is a very regulated scenario, a lot of patients come on credit basis and insurance companies are strictly regulating. One has to be well prepared, very well, run the systems very efficiently,” he added.

Chaudhry said that in next two years the company would be having two 150 bedded facilities, for multi speciality and more than three 50 bedded facilities which would be either orthopaedics or the mother and child care depending on the location and the proximity to the parent hospital.

It has also invested in Haryana Shahri Vikas Pradhikaran auction projects at five locations in Haryana, which will be 50-70 bedded facilities. Besides, it is also looking at asset light models through leasing facilities which are ready with equipment and other infrastructure.

The company is also getting a brownfield hospital in Uzbekistan ready, as part of its expansion to the international market. It already has an office there and gets a lot of patients from there.

“With last three years of experience there, we are very much confident that if we provide 60-80 per cent of primary and secondary care there, we will get a lot of traction, because the Indian surgeons and healthcare professionals are being respected across various nations,” he maintained.

The investments to these expansion projects would be from its own funding, utilising the proceedings from the Byju’s acquisition of its parent organisation.

“We are now focusing primarily on healthcare,” said Chaudhry. The company crossed a gross turnover of Rs. 250 crore last year and is expecting to grow at around 30 per cent during the current year.

The hospital in Dwarka, in NCR, was set up in 2017 and the company focused on setting the processes right in the first two and a half years and hitting an operational breakeven in 15 months of operation. With the Covid-19 pandemic started, it utilised the facility to address the pandemic issues and treated more than 10,000 Covid patients working three times more than its capacity. Post Covid period, the demand for various electives are growing faster and the business is getting back to normal, he added.


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