London: India’s biggest hospital chain Apollo Hospitals Group has drawn up a hit-list of British takeover targets, including Priory’s Healthcare and Capio UK.
Quoting people with knowledge of Apollo’s plans, the media here reported that the Indian company has already expressed an interest in the operating arm of Capio UK, one of Britain’s biggest hospital operators, which includes the Nightingale Hospital here.
Britain is understood to have become particularly attractive to Apollo’s founder and chairman Dr Prathap Reddy, following a surge of transactions that have seen Britain’s private healthcare industry rapidly consolidate into private- equity-backed portfolios.
Capio’s business in Britain, which consists of 21 hospitals across the country, is part of a much larger European group of the same name. Last November, Capio’s shares were de-listed from the Stockholm Stock Exchange after the group agreed a 1.2 billion pounds takeover by Opica, a company formed by Apax Partners and Nordic Capital.
The Apollo Group, which has 39 hospitals, is also looking at other British targets, potentially including Priority Healthcare, the country’s best-known home for celebrity addicts, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
ABN Amro, the Priory’s major shareholder, has appointed Morgan Stanley to conduct a strategic review, and Apollo would have enough firepower to mount a bid if it teamed up with private equity backers.
Apollo, which recorded a Rs273 million (3.2 million pounds) profit in the final quarter of 2006, was founded by Dr Reddy in Chennai in 1983 after he returned from running a medical practice in America.
In addition to his hospitals in major Indian cities, Dr Reddy has also taken Apollo in to Dubai, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Oman.