NephroPlus opens 145th dialysis centre; to raise fresh funds to expand

Vikram Vuppala, co-founder and CEO of NephroPlus, says the company is quite spread out across the country with total 145 centres in 18 states and 86 cities.

By E Kumar Sharma  
Thursday, August 2, 2018

NephroPlus, which calls itself, India's largest dialysis centre network and claims to do about 100,000 dialysis process every month, has opened a new centre in Hyderabad, its 145 centre nationally.

According to Vikram Vuppala, co-founder and CEO of NephroPlus, they are quite spread out across the country with these 145 centres, in 18 states and 86 cities. The chain has 30 per cent centres each in North and South, and 15 per cent each in West and East, with a lot more potential in East.

This scale has helped Nephroplus in the economics and in terms of reducing cost to patients. "With scale, we are able to reduce the financial cost of dialysis to end patient in the select markets and hold the prices in other markets and be in a position to absorb other input price inflation year on year (from consumables to wages)."

Giving an example, he says, "Just six months ago in Patna, where we have a centre in a private hospital, the price was reduced by 20 per cent (from Rs 2500 to Rs 2000 per session)." Dialysis costs, he says, "Vary from one city to another. It could range from Rs 1400 in Kerala to Rs 3000 in New Delhi. These are all linked to real estate cost, staff salary and doctor costs and tends to vary from one location to another."

An important need for the care is handling patients who are HIV positive, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B positive. How do they handle this? "They cannot be allowed to use the same machines as other ailments. We have separate machines for each of these ailments. Every centre has a separate capacity for Hepatitis C patients. But those with Hepatitis B and HIV are referred to their larger centres and they need to pay a little more Rs 100," he informs.

Its operations model -- out of 145 centres -- 10 are standalone and rest inside hospitals (including some government hospitals and hospitals within major public sector unit townships). The cost for setting up a new centre comes to about Rs 1 crore, Vuppala informs.

Since inception in March 2010, the company has raised Rs 200 crore in series A, B and C funding. Now, it needs another Rs 200 crore for future expansion. Of this, it intends to raise Rs 100 crore though series D funding and another Rs 100 crore from debt and internal accruals. Vuppala says they have been profitable for the last two years.

"The funds would be used to expand, make acquisition within India and make foray into global markets like South East Asia, Middle East and Africa in the next six to 12 months and overall get to 200 centres in a year from now."

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