Having put the Escorts-Fortis fracas behind him, surgeon and entrepreneur Naresh Trehan is now looking to start his Rs1,000 crore Medicity project in Gurgaon. Probe him more about it and he says, “50 weeks. Just wait for that long to see it for yourself.” He says the financial arrangement for his project has been “fixed”, but he refuses to give details of who owns how much of his pet project. Even as Trehan explains that he is in for a long-term relationship with the Apollo group, he clarifies that alliances and collaborations don’t necessarily come with an equity ownership in Medicity. Juggling between patient files, Dr Trehan fielded questions from Mint on his future plans. Edited excerpts:
How has your month’s stay at Apollo Hospitals been?
Different, but very pleasant and happy. By way of facilities, cooperation and the welcome extended, it has been very positive.
How many people have joined Apollo along with you? Also, what happened to the 10% stake you held in Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre?
There are about 60-65 doctors, 40 nurses and about 30 technicians and para-medical people. All in all, there are 130-140 people who have joined. I’m bound by my agreement (with Fortis management) not to disclose the status of my 10% stake in Escorts.
Are your Medicity plans on course? Has the capital been arranged and who all will have a stake in it?
Well, 50 weeks for it to be operational. Medicity is to represent a level of medical excellence at par with best in the world and will have 19 super- specialities and a focus on holistic healing by combining modern medicine with schools of traditional medicine. The focus will be on therapies that are less invasive and more affordable.
Financial closure has been achieved, but we are keeping the details of the investors and their stakes under wraps for now. I will have a 51% stake.
Post-Medicity, will you stay with Apollo? There is a buzz that it is just a stopover...
Dr Prathap Reddy said to me and I responded to it enthusiastically that there were no ownership issues. But there is a desire to have a long-term relationship here. I will also like to say that I and my team are not travellers here.
Will the Apollo group or its promoters have a stake in Medicity?
No. This is the interesting part. Alliances of working together and ownership are two different things, at least in my mind and in Dr Reddy’s mind.
Why should it be an ownership issue if two people collaborate (on something)? Two of us will be collaborating in various ways and forms as and when different projects come. We could go and buy something together and run it. But we don’t have to have equity in each other’s parent company.
Today, when health care is becoming increasingly corporatized, how can it be ensured that doctors stay empowered?
There should be participation of the doctors. They can own a stake in hospitals, take a fee plus a share in profits, allow it to be managed professionally and work on low margins of 10-12%, rather than 30-40% that corporates want.