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Shamsheer Vayalil, son-in-law of Lulu Group founder MA Yuzuf Ali and founder of VPS Healthcare Group and the 94th richest Indian in the Forbes' 2017 rich list, has lined up a Rs 1,000-crore war-chest to cash in on takeover opportunities in the domestic healthcare market.
The over USD 1-billion Abu Dhabi-based VPS Healthcare Group is an integrated healthcare provider with primary, secondary and tertiary care hospitals and clinics as well as drug manufacturing and pharma retailing, in the Gulf region, India and Europe.
The group runs four hospitals in the country now -- three in Delhi-NCR region and one in Kochi and wants to add at least three-four over the next one year or so.
Since its inception in 2007, VPS has grown into one of the UAE's premier integrated healthcare groups and currently owns 22 hospitals under 13 brands, over 125 medical centres and employs 13,000, including over 1,800 doctors.
The group runs four facilities in the country - three in the Delhi-NCR region under the VPS Rockland label (Qutub area and Dwarka in the Capital and one at Manesar in Haryana), and VPS Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi.
"We've set aside Rs 1,000 crore for acquisitions in the country. We are in talks with three-four hospital and over the next one year, we should have at least three more hospitals here," Vayalil told PTI from his Abu Dhabi headquarters.
The group has already invested over Rs 1,000 crore rpt Rs 1000 crore in these two hospital brands in the country.
"We've already pumped over Rs 750 crore into the 800- bed Rockland Hospital chain in which we own 100 per cent and around Rs 300 crore into the 600-beds Kochi facility where we own 60 per cent stake," the Kozhikode-born Vayalil said.
On expansion, Vayalil, worth USD 1.57 billion this year and who' also an avid marathon runner, said plan is "to take the existing capacity to 5,000 beds in the country over the next three years, hence the focus is on inorganic growth".
Another three growth areas that he is looking at is medical tourism, especially in Kochi, and rapid expansion of his drug manufacturing arm with focus on oncology and vaccines and highly specialised R&D, apart from O&M (operations and maintenance) opportunities.
"We are very serious on medical tourism. In fact, we have finalised a project in Kochi for this. A part of the Rs 1,000 crore investment lined up with go into setting up an integrated five-star ayurvedic resort, in Kochi for which we have already identified an 11-acre plot too and will be operational in a few year's time," Vayalil said.
The group already has one of the largest manufacturing facilities in Dubai, which it had bought from Cipla three years ago. The plant currently makes generics medicines for cardio-vascular, diabetes, and other lifestyle diseases.
Ninety per cent of group's over USD 1 billion revenue comes from hospitals now and the rest from pharma manufacturing and drug retailing, said Vayalil, who was featured in the 2016 Forbes rich at 98 last year. His plan is to double the non-hospital revenue in the next few years.
It can be recalled that his Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi was in the international press for freely treating the world's heaviest woman, the Egyptian Eman Ahmed until her death last month after being shifted from Mumbai's Saifi Hospital where she had a weight reduction surgery.
Recently, the group completed the largest surgery centre at Reem Island in Abu Dhabi and a premium Burjeel Hospital in Al Ain. Its upcoming projects include the 400-bed Burjeel Medical City dedicated to oncology and the first pharma plant in the GCC to make oncology drugs both of which will be operational early next year, he said.
His father-in-law is the Gulf retailing giant Yusuff Ali, known for his Lulu Group which is the largest employer in non-manufacturing sector in the GCC.
An MD in radiology, Vayalil was also in news recently for spearheading a PIL in the Supreme Court for getting voting rights for the diaspora.
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