Vasan, Dr Agarwals among top 4 global eyecare brands

Written by Soma Das | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 17 2011, 06:08am hrs
Two of Indias regional eyecare players with humble beginnings but high ambition have emerged as the worlds top standalone eyecare surgery chains by the number of centres in their network. While Chennai headquartered Vasan Eye Care promoted by medico AM Arun has risen to become the largest standalone eyecare player globally, by aggressively adding 80 branches in its network mainly in South India, another Chennai eyecare player Dr Agarwals Eye Care has sprung up as the fourth largest with 40 centres in its fold, according to secondary global research of Frost and Sullivan .

The second largest player is Spain-headquartered Clinica Baviera with 56 centres that boasts of operations spanning across Europe such as Spain, Germany, Italy and Australia. Another European player, Optical Express, with its base in UK and branches spread across other European countries, is the third largest player globally with 50 centres.

Also, seven of Asias top 10 standalone eyecare chains are Indian in origin, while two hail from Malaysia and one from China. The other Indian players in the top 10 are Sankara Nethralaya (Chennai), Centre for Sight (Delhi) Aravind Eye Care (Madurai), Lotus Eye Care (Coimbatore), LV Prasad Institute (Hyderabad). As evident, barring one, all the eyecare players in the top league are headquartered and have dense concentration in south India. Interestingly, the largest domestic player Vasan, which is chalking plans to go global today, had begun its eyecare journey by setting up its first eyecare hospital in 2002 under a franchisee agreement with its current rival Dr Agarwals Eye Hospital. The foundation of Dr Agarwals dates back to 1927, when medico R S Agarwal set up his practice in Delhi's Daryaganj. The company which clocked annual income of Rs 89 crore in the financial year 2010, floated its initial public offer in 1995. Vasans (which has already diversified into dental care clinics) revenue in 2010 crossed Rs 150 crore in 2010, which is over six times the revenue it posted in 2008. In comparison, the 19 year old Spanish Clinica Baviera, which offers aesthetic medicine and surgery services in addition to its core eyecare business, had annual revenues of around Rs 510 crore in financial year 2009.

Vasans promoter Arun told FE that his firm is already planning the next leap with a pan-Indian presence and overseas expansion. By June 2011, we will be launching 28 eyecare hospitals in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Surat, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Rajkot, Nagpur, Pune, Kolhapur, Nashik, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Indore and Bhubaneshwar among other cities. In next two years, we have a target of adding over 70 eyecare hospitals, Arun said.