Devi Shetty-led Narayana Health is set to buy into Westbank Hospital that has two hospitals in West Bengal. According to multiple sources, Bangalore-based Narayana Health, which currently has 26 hospitals across 16 cities in India, is likely to pick up a controlling stake initially for an estimated Rs 200 crore.
The deal is beneficial for Narayana Health, as it would increase its presence in the eastern part of the country. The hospital chain has been keen to make its foothold firm in the low-cost model of hospitals and has an ambition of having a total capacity of around 30,000 beds in the next five to seven years. Westbank Hospital has a 150-bed and another 175-bed multi-specialty hospitals in Howrah, adjacent to Kolkata, which is well connected to the southern part of Bengal.
"This would also help Narayana Health to attract more patients from Bangladesh, who come to West Bengal for treatment," said a source.
Another source close to the development added that the deal was in the final stages and could be announced soon.
"The talks have reached the final round and it could be inked soon," a source in one of the companies added. Narayana Health has been vocal about its intent to make further inroads into the non-metro Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities of India.
The company secretary at Westbank Hosiptal, being run under the company name of Meridian Medical Research and Hospital Ltd, declined to comment on the matter. Narayana Health managing director, vice-chairman and group CEO Ashutosh Raghuvanshi refused to comment as well.
Westbank Hospital is majority owned by an NRI investor, who also runs the single largest hotel chain in Sweden - Elite Hotels. Elite Hotels owns 25 English pubs. The NRI investor also partly owns trendy restaurants in Stockholm, including the Riche and Sturehof.
Incidentally, Hyderabad-based healthcare chain Global Hospitals has also shown interest in buying into Westbank Hospital. Post the deal, the owners will get out of the business, but the professional management of Westbank Hospital is likely to continue with the new owner.
Meanwhile, Narayana Health already has an alliance with Westbank and it runs a cardiac unit - Westbank Narayana Heart Centre at Westbank's unit in Andul, around Xxkm west of Kolkata. The facility has two cardiac catheterisation labs, two cardiac operation theaters, a 20-bed coronary care critical care units and a 12-bed ITU along with essential non-invasive cardiac diagnostics.
Shetty-led Narayana Health has also been setting foot on foreign soil and already has a presence in Southeast Asia. In an interview, earlier, Shetty had said that the company was looking to venture into Africa, which is considered to be an under-served market.