Aster drops Dubai International City hospital project

Moves to limit capex to Rs300 cr in FY21

KOCHI: With the revenues falling and the group struggling to hold up its bottom line, of late, Aster DM Healthcare is now taking steps to mend its own health as a commercial venture.

The group is said to be seriously working on ways to cut down the flab in order to stay fit. After having downed shutters on Philippines operations and decided to close down its loss-making pharmacies in Kuwait a few months ago, the leading healthcare group with major operations in the GCC and India has decided to terminate its 65-bed Dubai International City hospital project as a first step.

Addressing the analysts on the first quarter results of the group, Dr Azad Moopen, the chairman & managing director of Aster DM Healthcare, said the group is drawing up plans to curb capital expenses in the new context spawned by the COVID 19.

The company has posted net loss of Rs82.93 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2020 as against net profit of Rs131.11 crore for the period ended March 31, 2020.

The total income reported by the group was Rs1767.15 crore during the period ended June 30, 2020 as compared with Rs2327.94 crore the company earned for the period ended March 31, 2020.

Several on-going projects to be on hold
While most of the on-going projects, except those in very advanced stages, may be put on hold, the group is also revisiting the human resources structure to cut cost through right-sizing.

“Less number of people and less number of beds, but higher occupancy will be the way forward,” reminded Dr Moopen. The finance head said the group that has already made capital expenditure to the tune of Rs150 crore during the first quarter, may limit the capex to a total of Rs300 crore for the whole year as against a much larger budget earlier planned.

The projects-in-pipeline that may be put on the backburner include the 145-bed project in Muscat, the expansion project for Sanad Hospital in Riyad, the 500-bed hospital project in Chennai, another big project in Bangalore, etc.

However, Dr Moopen said the Sharjah hospital project, the first phase of Whitefield (Bangalore) project and most likely, the hospital expansion project in Kolhapur (Maharashtra) will go ahead as scheduled as they are in advanced stage of completion.




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