Amar Ujala acquires Cygnus Medicare for Rs 130 crore

Newspapers strengthen diversification investments

Cygnus Hospital in Karnal
Cygnus Hospital in Karnal

News reports on 25 November said that the publishers of Amar Ujala one of the leading Hindi dailies with centers in numerous cities in North India has acquired a majority stake in Cygnus Medicare (CM), a chain of super-specialty hospitals, for around Rs 130 crore. The investment is seen as a part of its expansion plans in the healthcare segment. Amar Ujala already owns two hospitals, and Cygnus Medicare has more than 1,000 beds across its ten super specialty hospitals in Delhi and Haryana. 

The Indian healthcare sector is expected to reach Rs 19,56,920 crore (US$ 280 billion) by 2020, according to the Indian Healthcare Industry Report by India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF). With rising income levels, health awareness, and access to insurance are among the prominent contributors to health industry growth. 

The sector is expected to generate 40 million jobs in India by 2030, and the government’s Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection project is expected to create 100,000 jobs. The IBEF report shows that the hospital industry in India stood at Rs 4 lakh crore (US$ 61.79 billion) in FY17 and is expected to reach Rs 8,60,000 crore (US$ 132.84 billion) by FY22.

“We have concluded a deal of around Rs 130 crore with Cygnus Medicare to take over their ten hospitals and added our two hospitals in the overall portfolio,” Probal Ghosal, director, Amar Ujala, said to the Press Trust of India (PTI). The firm has acquired a majority share in Cygnus Medicare with management control, he added. Ghosal also clarified that the source of funds for the acquisition is from Amar Ujala’s internal accruals.

The investment of Rs 130 crore includes a significant primary commitment, with the merger of the two Ujala Healthcare hospitals as well as a secondary investment, which provides an exit to angel investors and a partial exit to existing institutional investors, Amar Ujala.

Amar Ujala, through its healthcare arm, will hold a significant stake in the merged entity, along with management control. The balance stake will be held by Eight Roads Ventures, Somerset Indus, Evolvence India, and the previous promoters – Dinesh Batra and Shuchin Bajaj. Batra and Bajaj will become board members of the merged entity and continue in their earlier roles, whereas Ghosal will become its chairman. 

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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