It’s a bustling weekend afternoon at Narang Eye Institute run by SK Narang, a reputed Ophthalmologist. A stone’s throw from Model Town metro station in North Delhi, the clinic is one of the most successful private eye-care practices in the national capital. For the 63-year-old founder, two such clinics have grossed nearly Rs 20 crore ($2.4 million) in annual revenue this year. 

Located smack on the main road, the 30-year-old clinic gets 150-odd patients every day. “We perform close to 5,000 surgeries every year,” says Narang, adding that he still works 12 hours a day, by choice. Just as he chose to sell his thriving business to ASG Eye Hospital, a chain of super-speciality eye hospitals, over a year ago in a multi-crore deal. 

With no second generation to carry forward his medical practice, Narang epitomises what today’s eye-care chains, backed by private investors, are frantically scouting for. 

Jodhpur-based ASG Eye Hospital seems to be leading the pack. 

In July, it raised Rs 1,500 crore ($187.5 million) from private-equity (PE) investors General Atlantic and Kedaara Capital. The first tranche of that money came last month, valuing ASG at Rs 2,850 crore ($356 million). If the second tranche also has fresh equity (and no secondary share sale), ASG would be valued at Rs 3,500 crore ($433 million), according to The Ken’s analysis of its corporate filings.  

It’s evident that part of this money is to finance the buyout of Vasan Eye Care, which has been under insolvency proceedings insolvency proceedings Vasan Eyecare List of Creditors Read more since 2017. A trailblazer in private eye care, Vasan grew at breakneck speed between 2009 and 2014, before landing with a thud when it had ~200 centres, a soaring debt of Rs 1,200 crore ($150 million), and a political political TNIE P Chidambaram, Vasan Eye Care and Rs 223 Crore Black Money Read more and financial-mismanagement financial-mismanagement Mint What really happened at Vasan Read more controversy that swallowed both the business and the founder founder Business Standard Vasan Eye Care founder dies Read more

Earlier in 2022, ASG pipped other private chains like Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, MGM, and Maxivision Eye Hospital to the post in the bid for Vasan at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).