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General Atlantic Picks Majority Stake in Ujala Cygnus, Early Investors to Take Full Exit

Written by : Arti Ghargi

April 3, 2024

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Image Source: Freepik

Earlier in December, reports of General Atlantic picking a 70% stake in Ujala Cygnus including that of existing investors had surfaced.

US-based private equity firm General Atlantic has acquired a majority stake in Ujala Cygnus, a prominent healthcare provider in Northern India for an undisclosed amount. Ujala Cygnus runs a network of 21 hospitals in Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

The latest investment marks a full exit of the early-stage investors including Eight Roads Ventures, Somerset Indus Capital, and Evolvence Capital.

Earlier, in December reports of General Atlantic picking a 70% stake in Ujala Cygnus for INR 1600 Cr including that of existing investors had surfaced.

Per the healthcare provider, with the backing of a global equity firm, it aims to expand its footprint and advance its vision of providing affordable healthcare services in Northern India.

The capital infusion will aid the upgradation of clinical and civil infrastructure across the Ujala Cygnus network and the augmentation of comprehensive care capabilities across key specialties in each of the markets it serves.

“The investment from General Atlantic will enable Ujala Cygnus to deliver on its mission to ensure improved healthcare access in underserved regions and to support healthcare professionals seeking to serve closer to their roots through expansion of its network across Northern India,” the statement read.

Ujala Cygnus’ Health Facility Model

The healthcare landscape in India's Tier-II and Tier-III markets is riddled with unique challenges. Most of these areas have limited access to multi-specialty care facilities.

With its asset-lite model, Ujala Cygnus has been instrumental in addressing these challenges by establishing long-term partnerships with hospitals, thereby expanding its reach and impact.

In 2019, leading Hindi Daily group Amar Ujala bought majority stakes in Cygnus Medicare specialty chain for INR 130 Cr. Since then, Ujala Cygnus has expanded to more cities and increased bed capacity.

At present, Ujala Cygnus runs 21 facilities across 17 cities in five states, increasing bed capacity from 1,000 to over 2,500 beds.

Highlighting the company's success, Probal Ghosal, chairman & director, Ujala Cygnus, said, “With a commitment to further extend its impact in underserved markets, Ujala Cygnus aims to pursue both organic and inorganic growth strategies, including collaborations with local hospitals through leasing and revenue-sharing models.”

Dr Shuchin Bajaj, founder director, Ujala Cygnus, stressed on the transformative opportunity the company offers healthcare professionals to make a tangible impact in their hometowns.

“We’ve witnessed numerous doctors relocating from metropolitan areas to places like Agra, Varanasi, and Jammu, drawn by the prospect of delivering quality care and achieving positive outcomes in communities close to their roots,” he noted.

Tanmay Maheshwari, MD, Amar Ujala, underscored the importance of the partnership with General Atlantic in advancing Ujala Cygnus' mission.

He expressed confidence in General Atlantic's expertise in scaling healthcare platforms and propelling the company's journey forward.

Recent Hospital Acquisitions in India

In the last one year, investment inflow in the Indian hospital segment has shown upward momentum. with over 20 private equity deals amassing $3.8 billion, focusing on hospitals with specific regional plays or expertise in specialties such as Kauvery Hospitals, IVY Health, India IVF.

Here are some major acquisition/investment deals in the healthcare provider sector.

Manipal Hospitals- AMRI Hospitals

Last year, Manipal Hospitals, the second-largest hospital chain in India, secured an 84% stake in four hospitals under the AMRI brand, previously owned by the Emami Group. Valued at around INR 2,300 Cr, this acquisition comprised three hospitals in Kolkata and one in Bhubaneswar.

Blackstone - CARE Hospitals and KIMS

Global PE giant Blackstone acquired a majority stake in CARE Hospitals, based in Hyderabad, and KIMS Hospital based in Kochi as part of a collective $1 billion deal last year.

Temasek-Manipal Hospital

Singapore-based global investment firm Temasek acquired a 41% stake in Bengaluru's Manipal Hospitals for $2 billion, becoming the majority stakeholder.

Max Hospitals-Sahara

In December last year, Max Hospital acquired Lucknow's Sahara Hospital for a significant INR 940 Cr. This strategic move marked Max Healthcare's entry into one of the fastest-growing cities in Uttar Pradesh.

According to experts, in 2024, healthcare will remain a top priority for PE firms in India. Continued momentum is expected in multi-specialty, regional, and single-specialty hospitals, with deal sizes likely between INR 500 to INR 1,000 Cr, indicating a positive outlook for the healthcare investment landscape in India.


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