Giant acquisition in Hungarian private healthcare

English2020. jún 30.Növekedés.hu

Doktor24 Medicina Zrt. became one of the three largest Hungarian private healthcare providers as two foreign venture capital companies invested 10 million euros (3.5 billion forints) in the company. Doktor24 acquired the Svábhegy Children's Hospital and one of the largest limb surgery centres, the Tata Castle Park Clinic owned by the Béres family.

Doktor24 was founded in 2005 as a healthcare provider specializing in occupational health and has grown organically year by year. It carried out two acquisitions in 2015 and 2016, acquiring Medicina B. M. Kft. and Oxivit Kft. Their Health Centre in Váci út was opened two years ago with 25 surgeries – said Róbert Lancz, CEO of the company.

Two foreign venture capital funds joined the company this year, just before the breakout of the coronavirus pandemic.

With an investment of ten million euros, Luxembourg based Value4Capital (V4C) and Ananda Impact Ventures based in Germany acquired minority ownership of the company, with the majority - fifty some per cent - remaining in the hands of six individuals.

One of them is businessman János Kóka, a former politician, who was Minister of Economy and Transport from 2004 to 2008, chairman of SZDSZ in 2007–2008, and floor leader of the party until 2010.

Bill Watson, one of V4C’s owners and representatives, told the press conference in a video message that it’s hard to invest in a company that will shut down almost completely in the second week after the money is transferred.

All this was, of course, due to the pandemic, but Watson said that they are extremely optimistic about the Hungarian and Eastern European markets, expecting a significant return. He mentioned the Romanian healthcare provider MedLife as an example, which they sold at a substantial profit after 9 years, after it was listed on the stock exchange.

The venture capital investment opened huge opportunities for Doktor24.

In Budapest One office centre in Buda’s 11th district they are opening a new private hospital on 3,000 square metres with 35 beds and four operating theatres. Furthermore, they also carried out major acquisitions.

They bought the Svábhegyi Children’s Clinic, the largest private childcare institution in Hungary formerly owned by doctors, and the Castle Park Clinic in Tata, which had been founded by Dr. György Béres - the father of Alexandra Béres, fitness trainer, Hungarian, European and world champion. It is the largest private clinic of musculoskeletal and sports surgery in Hungary dating back several decades, and it performs over two thousand surgical procedures every year. The institution is the official hospital of the Olympic team, and many athletes and dancers are treated there by highly qualified specialists.

As a result of the investment, Doktor24 has become one of the largest private healthcare providers in Hungary.

Answering a question by növekedés.hu, Róbert Lancz - who is also one of the private owners - said that they are among the top 3 largest service providers in Hungary in terms of sales revenue. They work with more than 400 colleagues, including 200 doctors, 30 percent of whom work exclusively for Doktor24, full-time.

For this year they had forecast five billion forints in sales revenues, but it was overwritten by the coronavirus pandemic. In the CEO’s view, they can expect 4.5 billion forints this year, but even so they will still close the year with a profit.

Last year the company's revenue was about 3.5 billion, and the profit exceeded 300 million.

No colleagues were laid off because of the pandemic.

The company recently won a 300 million forint investment grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has been planning an investment of 2.5 billion for this year, which will be fully implemented.

They see great potential in digitally implemented remote consultation, which is realized through video calls. The epidemic enforced its early introduction and as it proved to be successful, they are encouraged to continue this service and even look into technologies enabling physical examinations to be carried out online.

Answering a question by növekedés.hu, Róbert Lancz said that the private healthcare industry in Hungary is a 100 billion market.

There is currently a period of consolidation in the market, with some players having become very strong in recent years. In Hungary there are now ten players with a turnover of one billion each, and three players will reach a turnover of three billion.

Mr Lancz also said that the legally achievable profit in healthcare is now around 10-15% of the sales revenue, and added that the company is planning further acquisitions in the future.