Nithya Subramanian

New Delhi, Sept. 29

A DAY after buying out the majority stake held by the Escorts group, Fortis Healthcare Ltd hopes to work in collaboration with Chief Surgeon and minority shareholder in Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre (EHIRC), Dr Naresh Trehan, in developing Medicity, the proposed multi-crore healthcare project in Gurgaon.

With Dr Trehan expressing his intention of retaining 10 per cent stake in EHIRC, Mr Harpal Singh, Chairman of Fortis, said: "We are partners and going forward we would like to work in collaboration. Dr Trehan had clearly indicated that he believes in the new enterprise and would like to retain his stake in the company."

Earlier, both Fortis Healthcare and Dr Trehan, in his individual capacity, had announced plans to set up large hospital complexes in the National Capital Region (NCR) with investments touching Rs 1,000 crore.

Speaking to Business Line, Mr Singh said: "The reason for acquiring the hospitals of the Escorts group was to consolidate our presence in the healthcare business."

Under the new management, there will not be any significant structural changes.

"There could be marginal adjustments and over a period of time, we will share best practices too."

Fortis has been increasing its presence in the Northern region.

Recently, it picked up the stake held by the Talwar group in Sunrise Medicare Ltd, a 50:50 joint venture promoted by the latter and Mr Amit Burman of the Dabur group, which launched a designer birthing centre.

The Talwar group is a car components manufacturer and Mercedes Benz dealer in North India.

But since it wanted to focus on its auto business, it decided to disengage from the healthcare business.

Meanwhile, competition in the hospital business in North India is taking place within the family. Fortis promoter Mr Shivinder Singh is the nephew of Mr Analjit Singh, promoter of Max Healthcare.

With the Escorts acquisition, Fortis will have over six hospitals in the North besides upcoming ones in Delhi, Gurgaon, Jaipur, and in a city in Punjab.

Max Healthcare, on the other hand, has four secondary care hospitals along with one large tertiary hospital in the NCR.

Its expansion plans include a centre for neuroscience, a joint replacement hospital, and a facility for minor access gastrointestinal surgeries. Max has indicated that will concentrate on expanding in the NCR and adjoining areas.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 30, 2005)
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