By Tom Arnold
DUBAI United Arab Emirates-based Aster DM Healthcare hopes to launch an initial public offering in India within the next 12 months after filing papers with the local capital markets regulator, its chairman told Reuters on Wednesday.The company, which runs hospitals, clinics and pharmacies across the Gulf and India, would offer shares that would dilute exisiting shareholders' equity by 10 percent, said chairman Azad Moopen."We have filed the papers with the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the local regulator, and are waiting for approval, which we're hearing will be done immediately," he said in an interview. "Once we get that, we're looking at the next six to 12 months [for the IPO]."He said the company chose India over London and Dubai, partly as the company was registered in India, making it easier to go ahead with a listing legally.
"We have significant presence in India and secondly India has very good valuations for healthcare assets," he added.It hired India's Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs to arrange the IPO.
Reuters reported in February that the company was seeking to sell a minority stake this year either through a stock market flotation or a deal with a private investor.Majority owned by Indian businessman and physician Moopen, Aster DM Healthcare was founded in 1987 with some private equity investors also holding stakes. Its hospitals and clinics have a combined bed capacity of over 2,500.
Moopen said the company planned to open five hospitals in the Gulf and India. It already has 18 hospitals within its portfolio. (Editing by Alexandra Hudson)
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