Mumbai: The Ajay Piramal Group, promoted by Ajay Piramal, is expanding into the mainstream private equity (PE) business with the launch of a $200 million (Rs832 crore) health-care fund.

The health-care fund is group’s second move into the PE business since its launch of a real estate fund, the Rs430 crore Indiareit Domestic Fund Scheme I in March 2006.

Details on other funds the group will launch in the wake of the health-care fund are not available, but Swati Piramal, director strategic alliances, Nicholas Piramal India Ltd, said, “We believe there is enough scope (to grow the corpus), but we cannot comment on this at the moment."

Growth Focus: A file photo of Swati Piramal, director of strategic alliances and communications at Nicholas Piramal

Former State Bank of India chairman, A.K. Purwar, will lead the proposed health-care fund, which will specifically look at investments in hospitals, specialty clincis, health-care business process outsourcing organizations and high-tech medical equipment manufacturers.

The fund will leverage on the relationships developed by the Piramal group in the health-care space.

Nicholas Piramal India Ltd, with Rs2,470 crore in revenue, is the flagship company of Piramal Enterprises and a leading player in the domestic pharmaceutical market. The company has a growing international business that focuses on providing manufacturing support to global pharmaceutical majors.

“We have over 20 years of experience in health care. We know that this is a big and fast growing industry, but it has a lot of small players that could benefit significanly from capital," said Piramal.

Indiareit’s first fund, which started out with an initial corpus of Rs250 crore has invested in about eight projects so far, according to Piramal.

It is currently in the process of raising a second fund, an offshore one based in Mauritius, which is expected to have a corpus of Rs750 crore.

This fund will invest in companies directly, as well as in other real estate funds.

UK-based private equity investor 3i Plc. has committed $40 million to this fund.