Mumbai: Global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group on Thursday said its affiliate Anant Investments has made a strategic minority investment in Global Health Pvt. Ltd, which owns, manages and operates the super-specialty hospital ‘Medanta—the Medicity’ in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of Delhi.

The deal also includes Carlyle acquiring a significant equity stake held by an affiliate of Avenue Capital Group. While financial details were not disclosed, one person close to the transaction said Carlyle had acquired around a 30% stake for more than 1,000 crore. Medanta founder Naresh Trehan did not respond to a text message sent by Mint.

In April, Mint had reported that Avenue Capital, which holds a 27.96% stake in the company, was exploring a potential exit from Medanta.

“We see high growth potential in the healthcare industry in India driven by improving income profiles leading to higher hospitalization and treatment frequency. And the National Capital Region of Delhi, where Global Health is operating, has rapidly emerged as a healthcare hub," said Neeraj Bharadwaj, managing director of The Carlyle Group.

Carlyle is one of the first global private equity (PE) firms to invest in India.

Including this transaction, Carlyle has invested and committed approximately $1.1 billion in India as of 30 September 2013.

PE interest in healthcare has been extremely strong over the last two years. So far this year (as of 19 December), there have been 69 healthcare PE and venture capital deals worth $1.11 billion, compared with 65 deals worth $1.07 billion, a year ago, according to VCCEdge, which tracks investment activity in the country.

A population of 1.2 billion, rising disposable income, demand for improved healthcare and increasing consumer willingness to spend on healthcare will ensure sustained PE interest in the business, experts said.

In July, Renuka Ramnath’s Multiples Alternate Asset Management Pvt. Ltd acquired a controlling stake in Mysore-based hospital chain Vikram Hospital for about 180-190 crore. In September, Matrix Partners India invested 40 crore in the Kerala-based Meditrina Hospitals for a significant minority stake. In August, ASK Pravi, a joint venture between ASK Group and Pravi Capital, announced an investment of 60 crore in Omni Hospitals, Hyderabad, for a substantial minority stake. In October, Sequoia Capital led a 100-crore investment in Bangalore-based Kids Clinic India Pvt. Ltd, which provides maternity and infant care under the brand Cloudnine. Existing investor Matrix Partners also participated in the round.

Investment bankers say hospitals are a key area of interest for investors. For hospital chains that are already established and have strong growth plans, investor appetite is sizeable.

“Hospitals are the flavour of the season. Investors are either looking at super specialty brands or very large chains that have a size that could make an initial public offering (IPO) in the near future a possibility," said Srikanth Narasimhan, director, Veda Corporate Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

According to Narasimhan, investors feel there are enough opportunities for geographical expansion for these businesses.

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