Interview: Aster turns to luxury healthcare, wellness investments to drive business – ZAWYA

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Alisha Moopen, Deputy Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare, explains why the company is betting on integrative medicine
Most healthcare providers in the GCC region are focused completely on sick-care or providing treatment to diseased patients. There is, therefore, a market gap for a pure play company that can focus on overall wellness, according to a top official at Aster DM Healthcare.
Recently, Aster DM Healthcare launched Wellth, which it described as the first of its kind in the UAE. A hub of integrative medicine in the UAE, Wellth will offer complementary therapies such as functional medicine, nutrition therapy, Ayurveda, Yoga, mental and emotional health, chiropractic, reiki, cryotherapy, Chinese medicine and homeopathy.
“Increasingly we realised that most healthcare providers, including ourselves, have been focused completely on sick-care or providing treatment to patients who are ill; however, we are not doing anything to help people stay healthy, sustain good health and prevent or delay occurrence of lifestyle diseases. This is how the concept of Wellth was born,” Alisha Moopen, Deputy Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare and Chief Wellth Creator, told Zawya.
The overall objective is to provide a luxury healthcare offering which delivers good health and well-being to the people of Dubai, Alisha said.
Wellth is managed and operated by Medcare, a premium healthcare brand and one of the four business divisions of Aster DM Healthcare.
“We want to make sure that even younger people in their 20s and 30s try and take the active measures to look after themselves—whether it’s their mind, their body, or their nutrition—in a fully holistic sanctuary where they can heal, repair and cope with the current stress of life,” she added.
Aster DM Healthcare has partnered with Dr Deepak Chopra and Dr Frank Lipman, experts in functional and alternative medicine, as advisors to Wellth.
Alisha further said that the company has hired staff from all around the world with different competencies. “We scouted the entire world and got the best people, […] from Calicut in India, to Beijing, to Spain, to the US.”
Currently, Wellth is available only in the UAE, but Moopen said that the company is looking to expand into other GCC countries as well. However, there is no roadmap for such expansion at present.
“It was very important for us to curate this. Scaling it up is the easier part but making sure we get this model right was the most important thing, which is what we have been working on for the last few years,” she said.
New Initiatives
Aster DM Healthcare is listed on the NSE and BSE stock exchanges in India. Per the company’s latest financial results for Q2, which ended September 30, 2022, it recorded a decline in profit after tax (PAT) of INR 540 million ($6.64 million) from INR 1.28 billion in the year-ago period. Adjusting for losses due to new hospitals, PAT was at INR 960 million.
However, consolidated revenue from operations grew by 12% to INR 28.16 billion, compared to INR 25.04 billion in the same period last year.
Of late, the company has been launching several new business initiatives both in the GCC as well as in India. In October, it inaugurated the 101-bed Aster Hospital in Sharjah. It also launched its pharmacy operations in Saudi Arabia.
“Aster DM Healthcare has launched its pharmacy operations in Saudi Arabia through a tie up with the Al Hokair Holding Group. The partners will create a network of 250-plus Aster pharmacies in the Kingdom in the next 5 years. The partnership plans to open in high-street locations, communities and malls, beginning with Riyadh. [In] Phase 2, the aim is to set up pharmaceutical manufacturing in the Kingdom,” Alisha said during the Q2 results announcement while commenting on the company’s new business initiatives.
The company also stated in its bourse filing that it has recently entered a hospital operation and management (O&M) agreement with Narayanadri Hospitals and Research Institute Private Limited in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh (India). With this addition, the company has added 290 beds in the O&M asset-light model in the current financial year.
Further, its Medcare brand announced its expansion into the premium wellness and beauty care segment with the acquisition of a 60% share in Skin 111 Clinics, a premium chain of aesthetic and wellness centres.
“With this agreement, Skin111 Clinic’s unique offerings will be incorporated into the Medcare service portfolio, giving it an edge in the aesthetics and wellness segments, a key driver of the UAE’s growing medical tourism sector,” Alisha said.
(Reporting by Sunil S; editing by Seban Scaria)
([email protected] )
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. The content does not provide tax, legal or investment advice or opinion regarding the suitability, value or profitability of any particular security, portfolio or investment strategy. Read our full disclaimer policy here.  
© ZAWYA 2022
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