Metropolis Healthcare plans Rs. 300-cr expansion

Multinational chain of pathology laboratories Metropolis Healthcare is expanding its global and India footprint with an investment outlay of Rs. 300 crore over the next four years.

Metropolis has 130 labs and 1,000 collection centres spread across India, Africa, Sri Lanka and Mauritius, which will be ramped up to 250 and 2,000, respectively, by 2019.

The labs are typically sized between 7,000 sq ft and 10,000 sq ft except for its flagship mother lab at Mumbai, which spans 40,000 sq ft, and is staffed by 800 people.

Collection centres where blood samples are collected and then sent to a lab for testing vary from 200 sq ft to 800 sq ft in size. Ameera Shah, MD & CEO, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd., sees a huge expansion opportunity in Africa, a market the company entered in 2008 with its first lab in South Africa. It was followed by Kenya and Ghana in 2013 and its recently launched labs in Zambia and Uganda.

"We are focused on expanding in Africa which is a virgin market for healthcare. The local labs do just 200-300 varieties of tests, whereas we do 4,500 tests ranging from a simple sugar test to a complex genome sequence test. However, it is a big challenge to replicate what we have done in India, as there is a shortage of manpower and talent in Africa and the quality of healthcare or the accessibility we have in India does not exist there," Shah told BusinessLine. The money for the expansion will be raised from internal accruals.

In India, Metropolis has a presence in almost all the States except the North-East, with 100 labs and 800 collection centres.

Metropolis competes with Dr. Lal. PathLabs, which is a dominant player in the North, and SRL Diagnostics, which is strong in the East.

The company closed FY 2015 with revenues of Rs. 600 crore and has been growing at a CAGR of 25 per cent over the last five years.

Pointing out that just 300 of the one lakh pathology labs in India are accredited by NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) Shah said: "We have gone one step higher and are accredited by the College of American Pathologists, which is the gold standard for pathology globally. Every month they send us multiple samples for testing, which we test and send back, which are then compared with other labs across the world. And I am happy to say that we are in the 99 percentile. "

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