Fortis to add 2,100 beds in 18 months; Q2 net surges

Fortis to add 2,100 beds in 18 months; Q2 net surges

New Delhi: India’s Fortis Healthcare, New Delhi-based hospitals chain which has about 6,000 beds, plans to invest 6.50 billion rupees over next 12-18 months to add 2,100 new beds, a top official said on Wednesday.

“We are moving into secondary cities. By virtue of demand and need, we have an opportunity to provide (healthcare in these cities)," Chief Executive Officer Bhavdeep Singh said in a conference call with reporters.

The company, controlled by billionaire brothers Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, will open at least 7-8 hospitals during the period, the CEO said.

It is looking to expand into tier-II cities such as Ludhiana, Ahmedabad, Gwalior and Gurgaon, he added.

“We will launch robotic surgery programme in three hospitals in the next three-four months. This will be the first of its kind in India," Bhavdeep Singh said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Fortis had said its net profit in July-Sept. jumped up almost six-fold on year to Rs747.8 million, riding high on a three-fold increase in revenue from international patients to Rs245 million.

Sales during the quarter almost doubled to Rs1.88 billion. Reacting to the robust earnings, its shares rose as much as 3% in a firm Mumbai market.

Fortis had in July failed in its bid to acquire a controlling stake in Singapore-based hospital operator Parkway Holdings. It then agreed to sell its entire 25% stake to rival suitor, Malaysian state investor Khazanah.

“The company received the proceeds of the tendered shares on 20 August 2010, which have been applied to pay off debts raised for acquisition of the Parkway stake," Fortis said in a statement.

Fortis realised a gain of Rs539 million from the disinvestment, it said.

In August, Fortis had said net Parkway borrowing expenses stood at Rs359 million.

On Wednesday, The Economic Times newspaper reported, quoting unnamed sources, that Fortis is in talks to buy a majority stake in Hyderabad-based Care Hospitals from minority investors, including Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, UK-based fund Ashmore and Matrix Laboratories founder N. Prasad.

Fortis officials declined to comment on the report.

However, CEO Singh said, “We are not done with acquisitions yet."

At 12:30 PM, Fortis shares, valued at close to $1.5 billion, were up 2.04% at Rs167.40 rupees, in a Mumbai market that was up 0.90%.