Kochi-based Aster DM Healthcare, one of the largest healthcare providers in India and the Middle East, is entering healthcare diagnostics services business in a big way with Aster Laboratories.
"We are setting up a centralised pathology lab processing facility in Bangalore and will add about 20 centres a year with a hub-and-spoke model initially in Kerala and Tamilnadu, besides looking at acquiring local pathlab chains," said Azad Moopen, chairman and managing director. He said initial outlay for the foray is about Rs 40 crore.
The board of the company today approved Aster entering into a new line of business vertical, Aster Laboratories (pathlabs). India has around 100,000 diagnostic laboratories with an estimated Rs 60,000 crore plus revenues annually, which include pathology laboratories and radiology centres. However, organised players like Metropolis, Apollo, Dr Lal Pathlabs and Thyrocare have only 30 per cent of the market share.
Aster, which runs 12 hospitals each in India and GCC countries, besides 114 clinics (eight in India) and 219 pharmacies in GCC, clocked revenues of Rs 7,963 crore during FY19, a growth of 18 per cent over the previous year. Profit after Tax for the year grew by 140 per cent, from Rs 139 crore during the last year to Rs 335 crore. Aster, which has a capacity of 5,441 beds, of which 3,890 are operational, has 4,340 beds in India, of which nearly 3,000 are operational across 12 hospitals with an occupancy rate of nearly 65 per cent.
Dr Moopen said Aster is adding a brownfield 223-bedded hospital in Bangalore this year and is planning a 500-bedded hospital in Chennai by 2021-22 and 60 beds at Kolhapur. Further, Aster has capacity to operationalise about 1000 more beds in the country. In GCC, it is adding hospitals and capacities in Dubai, Sharjah, Muscat and at Sanad Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.