ASIA NEWS: India’s crude healthcare sector

Mumbai-based private equity investment firm Toro Finserv last month launched India’s first healthcare real estate fund.

Led by entrepreneur Kapil Khandewal, the firm is targeting $250 million in equity commitments for India Healthcare Opportunities. A successful raise, with the same amount again raised in leverage, would see the fund benefit from $500 million in buying power.

So far, Toro Finserv has received commitments of $110 million from Indian state governments, ultra-high-net-worth investors and international funds of funds.

Despite being the only fund in town, however, Toro Finserv is not the only capital looking at the healthcare sector. Indian conglomerate Religare has an India healthcare-focused trust listed in Singapore, and one of Asia’s largest healthcare providers, Malaysia’s Parkway Pantai, has been active in the space with its Gleneagles hospitals in Bengalaru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.

However, onlookers suggested there is a dearth of single sources for investment opportunities at present. “The amount of assets in the market has reduced dramatically,” said Shubhranshu Pani, managing director at JLL India. “If it was available, it would have already been transacted.”

He said the more viable route for investing in the sector right now would be via multiple sources.

Over the longer term, investing in the sector may be a simpler affair, however, as the Indian government paves the way for future development.

The country is aiming for there to be three beds per 1,000 people as part of an estimated $200 billion expected to be spent on the development of healthcare infrastructure for India by 2025, according to the government’s national health policy.