Hospital network run by Manipal Healthcare Enterprises Pvt Ltd (MHEL) would launch its Pune facility next month making it the 28th hospital in its chain and adding 250 more beds.

According to Dilip Jose, CEO and MD of MHEL,the group has 27 hospitals in its network with 7,600 beds spread across 15 cities and provides services to 45 lakh patients annually. MHEL which has 20,000 employees, has invested ₹300 crore in the new Pune hospital which will start functioning from July.

Greenfield expansion project

The company is also undertaking greenfield expansion and will add two more hospitals in Bengaluru - one in North Bangalore, a 250-bed quaternary care facility and another one on Kanakapura Road, with 250-beds focused on oncology led infrastructure. Both these hospitals are expected to be operational within the next 18-20 months. ‘We will be investing a capex of close to ₹650-670 crore in these two greenfield expansion projects, through a mix of mainly internal accruals and a bit of borrowing. Apart from that we do a capex of₹150 crore annually to keep upgrading our facilities across our network of hospitals’ Jose added.

“We have grown particularly in the last year through inorganic acquisition, where we added 11 hospitals to our network from the Columbia Asia India operations, which added about 1,300 beds to us. We have acquired Vikram Hospital in Bangalore, which added about 300 plus beds and one more location.”

However, MHEL failed to bag Fortis when it was on the block and talks to acquire Medanta also did not yield desired results for them. The Manipal Group which has a large foot print both in Education and Healthcare, however, said that it continues to look at both organic and inorganic opportunities for growth.

“In terms of, our geographical interests we are keenly looking at opportunities in Kerala, Hyderabad-Telangana, Delhi-NCR region apart from Eastern India. We believe some of those markets are underserved. For instance, we only have one hospital in Calcutta, which was taken over from Columbia, Asia. In fact, all the hospitals that we acquired in the last year have already been rebranded Manipal Hospitals,” Jose added.

‘No timeframe for listing’

The MHEL CEO refused to comment on whether the group was talking to AMRI hospital chain owned by the Emami Group for possible acquisition. “No, I’m not able to discuss that. We are in conversation with various people.” On speculation that the privately held MHEL could list in the near future, Jose said “we don’t have a timeframe for listing. We don’t want to think of a deadline. We are quite comfortable with our financial performance and the growth over the last 5-6 years. And, we don’t see a challenge in giving an exit to any of our investors when the time comes, for the reason that, healthcare in India attracts a lot of investment. Also listing is not the only way to provide (an exit) for an investor.”