Vasan Eye Care eyes expanding beyond India

R. Yegya Narayanan Coimbatore | Updated on March 17, 2011

Vasan Eye Care Hospital, which is on an expansion mode, plans to set its footprint outside India too but it does not favour the franchise route to widen its reach, according to Mr S. Sudheer, Director-Operations, Vasan Eye Care Hospital.

While the issue of an IPO was under consideration, he did not give details.

Asked in an interview to Business Line about the scope for opening more eye hospitals in Coimbatore, where Vasan Eye Care opened its 4th hospital in the city at Thudiyalur on Wednesday, when the city has already a number of large eye hospitals apart from individual eye specialists, he said the size of the patient population needing eye care in the city was put at 4,000 patients a day.

When Vasan Eye Care entered Coimbatore in 2009, the eye hospitals here were catering to around 2,500 patients a day and patients from other States numbered around 700 a day. At present, his group attended to about 700 out patients a day with three units, and with the new unit at Thudiyalur and the upcoming two new units, he was confident of caring for over 2,000 patients a day by his group hospitals alone.

He said it was not only the size of the patient population in a city but also the ‘large vacuum' the city has, in terms of personal care that provided an opportunity for growth. He claimed that the quality service of Vasan Eye Care had helped it to attract patients and instead of vertical expansion of one centre, it adopted the network mode with each centre being strategically located to cater to a minimum of 4 lakh population. Keeping in view the population growth and other parameters, he said, “we assume a future of 8 hospitals in and around the city.”

No franchise route

On whether the group was looking at the franchise route to power its expansion, Mr Sudheer said: “we have no policy of franchising” and all its hospitals were owned and managed by it. He felt that “personal care and value added services cannot be outsourced to ensure (that) quality is sustained”.

Vasan Eye Care now has 66 operational hospitals, 14 were in completion stage, set to open by this month end and 25 were in building stage including four in Delhi, four in Punjab, four in Mumbai, two in Gujarat, one in Orissa, two in Maharashtra, one in MP, and seven in Karnataka and Andhra, all of which will be operational by end of FY 2011-12.

It also has overseas roll-out plans under which Sri Lanka would have five hospitals, apart from GCC and South Africa. It was also exploring the potential in South East Asia for expansion.

Questioned about the work place hazards people in Coimbatore region face due to a lot of industrial activity, he said sharp vision played a large role in tool and die industries, diamond cutting, jewellery, textile mills, etc. Vasan Eye Care has evolved an array of preventive eye care programmes specific to each industry.

He said a lot of textile mill workers have colour vision irregularities, which acted as a deterrent in choosing right colour of yarn, designs, etc. A few traumatic cases specifically ocular traumas in chemical industries, dye industries, tool and die manufacturing industries, etc have also been noticed. Banks and IT companies send their staff for “computer vision syndrome”, which was growing among students and cyber buffs too.

Mr Sudheer, asked about the investment outlay for Vasan Eye Care's expansion programme and whether it planned to come out with any IPO to fund it, declined to comment on it since it was not under his domain other than stating that “currently the issues of IPO are on discussion.”

Published on March 17, 2011

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