Investment activity in the health care space is picking up over the past few years, and has not slowed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, industry experts said.
Speaking at the CII Hospital Tech Conclave 2022, Mohit Khullar, managing director, o3 Capital, said between 2010 and 2014 the sector was attracting around half a billion dollars of investments (in private capital), which went up to $800-900 million during 2016-2019. “In the last three years, we have seen $1.2-1.3 billion investments in the sector, and this year we have seen $1.5 billion investments in the sector so far. If some of the deals go through, we can see a significant addition to that amount in the next two months,” Khullar said.
Thus, private capital investments in the health care sector have nearly tripled in the last few years.
Khullar feels there is a generational change in many companies in the sector, and if the younger generation is not keen to participate in the particular line of business, at times the founders are open to roping in a strategic investor on board.
Buyers are typically looking at targets in the health care services space.
Kaustav Ganguli, managing director of Alvarez Marsal, said buyers when they look at potential targets, typically try to assess the potential for revenue growth, and the potential for cost optimisation.
Funds, however, continue to flow. Visalakshi Chandrmouli, managing partner, Tata Capital Healthcare Fund, said at least $25 billion of private capital has flown into the health care space alone in the last decade or so.
Strategic investors such as Vishal Bali, executive chairman of Asia Healthcare Holdings (AHH), which operates multiple businesses on a single platform, said AHH companies have shown over 40 per cent return on invested capital. AHH has focused on operational efficiencies and unit economics.
It acquired Cancer Treatment Services International (CTSI) for $38 million. In 2019 US-based Varian Medical Systems acquired CTSI for $283 million. By then, the chain had grown from just two cancer hospitals to 11 hospitals with a pipeline of six more. The Motherhood chain of hospitals came to AHH in 2016 when it picked up a majority stake in Rhea Healthcare. Nova IVF was acquired in 2019, a loss making entity then. It turned profitable in six months and is now a 60-center chain.
Joy Chakraborty, chairman CII western region sub-committee on health care & COO, P D Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Centre, explained that since 2016, the Indian health care sector has been growing at 22 per cent CAGR and is going to touch $372 billion by the end of 2022.