February 06, 2009

Billroth hospitals eyeing PE funding of Rs 250 cr

Billroth Hospitals of Chennai has chalked out aggressive growth plans, that include expanding its speciality clinic footprints in the metro and beyond.

The hospital has its operations in Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts with 600 beds. It plans to raise Rs 250 crore private equity for acquisitions and branching out to tier II destinations.

"We are looking at setting up satellite centres and tertiary care centres in and around the city. Five such centres and one tertiary care unit are proposed in the next few months," Billroth Hospitals MD Dr J Rajesh told ET here on Thursday.

Billroth, which has invested Rs five crore in its first dedicated heart failure clinic in the city, is also scouting for buy outs. It has short-listed 3 hospitals in the metro and one each in Trichy and Kanchipuram. "While the rural acquisitions would be 30-50 bed size hospitals, those in Chennai would be 100-beds and more," he said, estimating the total expansion drive to cost Rs 250 crore.

By 2010, it plans to add 400 beds to reach the 1,000 bed milestone, Dr Rajesh said. In the industrial area of Ambattur, it has begun the construction work on a greenfield 100-bed hospital on five grounds (1 ground = 2400 sq ft) while at Adyar, it is finalising a concept that would see the establishment of a specialised infertility-maternity-cum paediatric care unit in a single location. These projects would take two years to complete, he added.

For the new hospital, Billroth has earmarked an investment of Rs 15 crore and for the speciality care centre in Adyar, it is bringing in Rs 30 crore. With 180 consultants on its rolls, Billroth has a headcount of 2,500 which includes administrative, nursing and para-medical staff.

Dr Rajesh dismissed reports on Billroth being perceived as an acquisition target. Started in 1990, in the last few years, the hospital has been pursuing aggressive brand campaigns. Registering a growth rate of 20% annually, he said Billroth spent Rs 30 crore on promotions.

Dwelling on the new heart failure clinic, he said heart disease has been on the rise among the young and the older population, given the current lifestyle and stressful environment. Patients with heart failure need special care which include a multi-disciplinary team work, special investigations, devices and treatment modalities.
"The aim of starting such a clinic is to provide a comprehensive treatment for heart failure with the proposed satellite centres getting hooked to the main facility," Dr Rajesh added.

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