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Wockhardt lines up three hospital projects


Wockhardt Hospitals, a unit of the Wockhardt group, is all set to emerge as a national player in the healthcare sector. The company has lined up a couple of projects, which will happen this year and which will help it build its presence across the four geographical regions in the country. Wockhardt Hospitals vice president (operations) Vishal Bali told ET that Wockhardt will start setting up a new hospital in New Delhi and will also build a second hospital in Kolkata.


"We have acquired land in Pitampura and plan to set up a 225-bed hospital in the Capital with an investment of about Rs 100 crore," he said.


The hospital is expected to be commissioned by the end of year 2005 and mark the company's foray in the northern region, which is now dominated by healthcare players such as Max, Fortis, Apollo and Escorts.


Wockhardt Hospitals has also acquired land in Kolkata where it will build a multi-specialty hospital. "The existing facility is operating at almost 95% capacity utilisation," Mr. Bali Said. The existing hospital in Kolkata offers services in urology and nephrology. Last year, Wockhardt committed Rs 500 crore towards five more hospital complexes in the next three years. The five new projects include one in Bangalore and Kolkata and two in Mumbai. In addition to the two greenfield projects, Wockhardt will commission its second hospital in Bangalore next year. Unlike the first hospital, which focuses on cardiology, this hospital will offer services in multiple specialties cardiac, orthopaedic, neuerology.


In the coming year, Wockhardt Hospitals may also explore acquisition opportunities. "There is a lot of potential in the smaller towns and metros," Mr. Bali said.


Earlier this year, Wockhardt made its first healthcare acquisition in Nagpur, where it has launched the Wockhardt Heart Hospital. The acquired hospital was set up in 1998. The 50-bed hospital will offer all cardiac care procedures and is expected to cater to central India.


(Ref : Economic Times Dated December 14, 2004)


Nicholas Piramal to rebrand diagnostic labs


Nicholas Piramal's healthcare plans are gaining momentum. The company's diagnostic laboratories business will now foray into smaller metros and semi-urban areas. The company is also planning to rebrand the path labs business. "We will create a mother brand 'Wellspring,' which will be used for all the path labs," Dr. Swati Piramal, director for strategic alliances at Nicholas Piramal, told ET.


The company has a hospital called Wellspring in central Mumbai. According to Dr. Piramal, the company would now extend the brand to path labs as well.


The turnover of the diagnostic labs business is currently around Rs 35 crore. Through the initiatives that the company has in the pipeline, Nicholas Piramal expects revenues to double in the next 2 years.


For most of the labs, Nicholas Piramal plans to have a franchising agreement with pathologists who already have laboratory facilities. "Working with an established pathologist gives us the advantage of having some equity with the local population," Dr. Piramal said.


However, the company may se up its own facilities in some cities. So far, Nicholas Piramal has about 10 franchised labs. It hopes to increase the number to about 30 in the next two years. "We will be increasing franchisees in Rajasthan, Orissa, Maharashtra and West Bengal," Dr. Piramal said.


Nicholas Piramal forayed into this field in '99 when it tied up with S Roy who has a diagnostic laboratory at Kolkata. In Mumbai, Nicholas Piramal has a joint venture with Mumbai based Dr. Phadke's Pathology Laboratory and Infertility Centre since September 2000.


The venture has started its third diagnostic laboratory at Andheri in suburban Mumbai. More recently, it got into a strategic alliance with Ajit Golwilkar in Pune.


"The unique feature of our labs is that each of them is headed by a full-time pathologist, as against the conventional practice of having a technician man these centres," Dr. Piramal said.


While the local partners will bring in goodwill and expertise, Nicholas Piramal will bring in the equity, the standardisation and the information technology, she added.


(Ref : Economic Times Dated December 11, 2004)



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