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ASIAN Healthcare Fund, a private equity firm launched by Dabur Group chairman Anand Burman and former CEO of Dabur Pharma Ajai Vij, has made its first deal with a controlling stake in a Delhi-based medical imaging company for about $20 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

   Dr Burman confirmed the investment in Diwan Chand Medical Devices, but refused to share the size of the deal. It would be finished in tranches over the next couple of years, he said, adding that AHF has the option to increase its stake in the company.

   Diwan Chand, with several centres in Delhi NCR region, is considered the market leader in the highly fragmented imaging market with annual sales of around Rs 50 crore. The firm was also in talks with US-based Allied Medical Services in 2007, but the deal did not fructify. Established in 1924, Diwan Chand Imaging Services is the largest and the oldest imaging company in India, its website says.

   The Indian healthcare industry is estimated to be around $35 billion currently, and expected to double in the next 3-4 years.

   Dr Burman whose family also owns leading FMCG company Dabur India had sold their entire stake in Oncology drugmaker Dabur Pharma (Fresenius Kabi Oncology) in 2008 to German firm Fresenius Kabi for about Rs 878 crore. The Burman family has investments across insurance, cricket clubs, and restaurants.

   Ajay Vij, co-founder and CEO of AHF, said the fund which would based out of Mauritius would invest between $5-20 million and buy significant minority to majority stake across the entire healthcare spectrum such as drugmakers, diagnostics, devices, contract researcher and hospitals. AHF now plans to scale up Diwan Chand’s business nationwide and overseas.

   Mr Vij, who was the former CEO of Dabur Pharma, says besides the fund AHF also brings domain expertise and know-how by virtue of them being in the industry for so many years. He is in the process of raising the $200 million, in which Dr Burman is the anchor investor. Other PE funds focused on healthcare include Evolvence India Lifesciences Fund, IndiaVenture Advisors, Iven Medicare from ICICI Venture and Religare Milestone.

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