BR Shetty, owner of 2 floors in Burj Khalifa, wants to bring NMC hospital chain to India


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In India, BR Shetty is famous as the man who owns all the apartments on the 100th and 140th floors of Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa, which he is said to have acquired for a whopping $25 million.
 
Besides such big investments in real estate in the UAE and India, Shetty’s NMC Healthcare, which is the largest health care services group in the Gulf region, will be running a chain of super-speciality hospitals in India, if things go according to plan.
 
"For me the business plan would be to make affordable health care available to a large number of people in India, especially in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. To begin with, we would be looking at cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Pune and Jaipur. We would like to set up health care facilities that run as centres of excellence in various fields such as oncology and cardiology," says Shetty, founder, managing director and chief executive officer of NMC Healthcare, which became the first big player from the Gulf to raise money on the London Stock Exchange earlier this year.
 
India Prescription
 
While he is awaiting the board’s approval for his planned foray into India’s health care sector, industry experts believe that part of the $187 million raised through the London IPO will go towards funding his India plans. "I am also talking to some specialists in Chennai and will be funding cancer research in India. This is part of my corporate social responsibility outreach towards my country of origin," says Shetty, who belongs to the Bunt community of Karnataka. Shetty who has received India’s top honours — Padma Shri and Pravasi Bharatiya Samman — hopes that in five years his company can create a 3,000-bed hospital infrastructure in India.

While NMC Healthcare would run all the hospitals under its umbrella brand name in India, the group is open to acquiring sick medical facilities and turning them around into multi-speciality operations. Shetty has also shown interest in setting up a hospital-cum-medical college in Manipur.
 
Salesman to Billionaire

 
His journey from a pharmaceutical salesman in Abu Dhabi — where he went about four decades ago in search of a better life — to one of the richest Indians in the UAE with a net worth of around $2 billion, is one of Indian entrepreneurship.
 
Though a trained pharmacist, he couldn’t get a job at any government hospital in the UAE because his Indian qualifications were not acceptable. Instead, Shetty started the New Medical Centre group of companies focused on pharmacies and health care in 1975. While the clientele was initially largely non-resident Indians, employees of American companies later provided the numbers for NMC hospitals, which include a wide range of facilities from primary to super-speciality in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Sharjah. The business model of the group includes a large pharmaceutical distribution network and pharmacies to support the hospitals.
 
"Besides India, I also plan to expand health care facilities in the Middle East and North Africa, having acquired two hospitals in Egypt. I am also looking at expanding in Qatar and Abu Dhabi," says Shetty.

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