Mumbai: Renuka Ramnath’s Multiples Alternate Asset Management Pvt. Ltd has acquired a controlling stake in Mysore-based hospital chain Vikram Hospital for about 180-190 crore.

It bought the 64% stake that ICICI Venture Funds Management Co. Ltd held, besides infusing direct capital that includes money for debt repayment, according to at least two people close to the transaction who did not want to be named.

“Multiples Alternate Asset Management has provided ICICI Venture an exit by buying their entire stake for 90 crore. It has given Vikram Hospital additional capital to repay the debt and for some stake in their Bangalore facility," said one of the persons cited above. Multiples Alternate Asset has offered the final binding term sheet for the deal to Vikram Hospital, Mint had report on 11 April.

S.B. Vikram, managing director, Vikram Hospital, confirmed the development in an emailed response. “There has been no secondary sale by the promoters and I continue to run it," he said, but declined to elaborate on the financial details of the deal.

An email sent to Ramnath on 19 July did not elicit any response.

In early 2008, I-Ven Medicare invested 72 crore in Vikram Hospital for a 64% stake. The investment was made when Ramnath was heading ICICI Venture. In 2009, she quit the private-equity firm and later started Multiples Asset Management.

Vikram Hospital runs seven hospitals in Karnataka across Bangalore, Mysore, Mandya and Tumkur with a total bed capacity of over 540.

With this transaction, Multiples Alternate Asset Management has made its debut investment in the healthcare space. Founded by Ramnath in 2009, the firm manages over $400 million. It has invested in five firms, including Sara Sae Pvt. Ltd, Indian Energy Exchange Ltd, Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Co. Ltd, South Indian Bank Ltd and PVR Cinemas.

The healthcare sector is one of the most preferred sectors for private investors in India, showing growth in a contracting industry in 2012.

Investments in healthcare almost tripled over 2011, up from $0.46 billion in 2011 to around $1.3 billion in 2012, according to India Private Equity Report 2013 released in May, which was produced by produced by Bain and Co. in collaboration with the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association.

Deal volume also rose 50%, with 44 deals done in the sector in 2012. The overall Indian healthcare market is around $65 billion and has grown 11% in the past five years, the report said.

India, however, remains a highly underpenetrated market in terms of healthcare spending per capita and offers huge growth potential, the report noted. India’s growing population, increased incidence of diseases, greater affordability, expanding insurance coverage and supportive government schemes are the key drivers of high double-digit growth expectations of the PE industry.

“Healthcare is a recession-proof field, with growth predicted at more than 15% as infrastructure and insurance penetration rates improve," the report said.

About 140 healthcare companies have received investment over the past five years, with 15-20% raising more than one round of capital. This indicates the increasing confidence in the value creation potential of the sector.

Even in terms of exits, the picture is promising. Of the $5 billion invested in healthcare, $2.8 billion has been returned, with an average holding period of five years for the top 25 deals.

“The interest in healthcare is as high as ever. The healthcare consumption theme in the country is very strong as the need for proper healthcare infrastructure is massive. Investors believe that returns can be made in this sector," said Sunil Jain, founder partner at Sprout Capital Advisors LLP, an investment bank.

“Investors are keen on new, upcoming hospital and diagnostic chains as most of the large chains have already raised funding," he said.