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Focus shifts from pill to patient

New Delhi, June 11: Malvinder Singh will stay on as the head honcho at Ranbaxy for about five years after the deal with Daiichi Sankyo is completed next year.

But Singh is expected to shift focus from drugs to high-growth sectors such as healthcare and financial services.

The Singh brothers will retain control over Fortis Healthcare, which has plans to open a chain of corporate hospitals across the country, and Religare Enterprises which has deep interests in financial services. “I want Fortis Healthcare to be the largest healthcare player in India,” said Malvinder.

Malvinder, who has voiced ambitions of building a financial giant, is chairman of the family’s non-pharma businesses, which includes Religare Enterprises, Fortis Healthcare and Religare Technova Ltd.

The multi-specialty hospital chain Fortis Healthcare is led by younger brother Shivinder Singh. Sunil Godhwani heads the financial services companies under the Religare umbrella.

Religare Capital Markets, a wholly owned subsidiary of Religare Enterprises, was the advisor to Ranbaxy and the Singh family on the Daiichi deal. Analysts said the Ranbaxy family would shovel more money into their financial services venture.

“Healthcare is still a highly under-served market and Malvinder may be planning to boost his presence in that segment through Fortis Healthcare,” Hitesh Gajaria, partner and pharma analyst at KPMG, told The Telegraph.

Fortis has scaled up its presence through three buyouts, including Escorts Heart Institute.

Analysts say the plan is to turn Fortis into a nationwide chain, via a hub-and-spoke model, relying on smaller, general care hospitals in suburban areas and large specialised hospitals in big metros.The healthcare firm intends to roughly triple current holdings to 14 hospitals and 2,400 beds by 2011.

“Financial services is another high potential segment and Malvinder may infuse some funds into Religare Enterprises,” said Gajaria. In April 2008, the New Delhi-based Religare had bought London's oldest stockbroker, Hichens, Harrison & Co for £ 55 million pounds.

While the pharma sector is poised to grow more than 12 per cent a year, reaching $20 billion by 2015, analysts said that Ranbaxy sellout was all about “getting the right valuation at the right time and exiting to other equally high potential sectors”.

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