Mumbai: Maxivision Super Specialty Eye Hospitals, a Chennai-based eyecare chain owned by G.S.K. Velu, plans to raise about Rs200 crore, providing an exit to existing investors, two persons close to the development said. Chennai-based investment bank Veda is advising the chain to find potential investors, the two said on condition of anonymity.

In August 2011, Velu-owned Medfort Hospitals acquired Maxivision Eye Hospitals, the Hyderabad-based eye-care chain and rebranded it as Maxivision eye care. Private equity (PE) investors TVS Capital Funds Ltd and ePlanet Capital invested Rs60 crore together in Medfort Hospitals in 2010.

“The proposed deal will be a secondary plus primary transaction where the new investor will buy a stake from existing investors, and the promoter will dilute additional shares," said the first person.

Velu, who sold his large minority stake in diagnostic chain Metropolis Ltd last year, declined to comment.

“It’s true we want an exit from Medfort, and we are confident that G.S.K. Velu will back up fully to get a fair exit," said Gopal Srinivasan, chairman and managing director, TVS Capital Funds.

An email sent to ePlanet on Wednesday went unanswered. An email sent to a Veda spokesperson did not elicit a response as of press time.

Established in 1996 by ophthalmologist Dr. Kasu Prasad Reddy, Maxivision Super Specialty Eye Hospitals presently has a network of more than 12 super-specialty hospitals in six cities including Hyderabad, Chennai and Delhi. The chain has served more than 2.4 million patients, according to a company statement.

Reflecting the increased interest of private equity investors in the Indian healthcare sector, several eye care chains have received private equity funding in the recent past.

Maxivision’s competitor Dr Agarwal’s Health Care Ltd is looking to raise as much as Rs300 crore from private equity funds to expand its eye care chain, run by publicly traded Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital Ltd, Mint reported last week. Hong-Kong based private equity fund ADV Partners invested $45 million in the company in January this year.

Other major deals in the eye care space in India include Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte. Ltd’s $100 million investment in Vasan Healthcare, Matrix Partners’ Rs50 crore investment in New Delhi Centre For Sight in 2010 and Eye-Q Super Specialty Eye Hospitals’ Rs60 crore fundraising from the World Bank arm International Finance Corporation, Helion Venture Partners and Nexus Venture Partners in 2015.

According to a 2014 report by rating agency Crisil Ltd, market for eye care in India is estimated to be worth Rs12,000 crore as of 2013-14, and poised to rise to Rs23,600 crore in the next five years.

“An ageing and increasingly diabetic population, greater preference for paid eye care, shorter procedures and use of better technology in most treatments will aid a steady rise in people seeking eye care treatments," the report said.

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