VLCC gearing up for mid-year IPO launch

VLCC Health Care will launch its initial public offering around the middle of this year, the wellness and healthcare company’s chairman said. “We expect that the instability in global markets following the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war will have settled down by then. With the pandemic receding, discretionary spending picking up and healthcare in focus, we believe the timing is appropriate for listing,” Mukesh Luthra told ET.

The company plans to raise ₹850-900 crore from the IPO.

VLCC, which operates wellness and beauty clinics and skill development institutes for beauty and nutrition, got clearance from market regulator Sebi in November last year for its IPO. However, recent months have seen several Indian companies, such as Delhivery, PharmEasy and Oyo, postponing their IPO plans due to high volatility in global markets.

Luthra was speaking at the launch of VLCC’s healthcare, wellness and beauty clinics, as part of its strategic partnership with Thailand-based Minor Hotels inked in late 2019.

He said consumption outlook for the pandemic-hit hospitality sector had turned positive after two years. “There is every indication that this is the beginning of recovery of wellness tourism, as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic impact,” he said.

The Minor Group, with revenue of over $4 billion and a market cap of more than $5 billion, runs three businesses: restaurants, hotels and hospitality and lifestyle brands. Its business portfolio includes either direct ownership or operating rights of Swensen’s, Sizzler, Dairy Queen and Burger King restaurants, and Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and St Regis hotels.

“We are confident that going forward, proactive health care and wellness will be an active consumption theme across age groups, given the heightened awareness of consumers to invest in the same, catalysed by the pandemic,” Minor International chairman William E Heinecke said.

According to Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism is expected to grow to $1.1 trillion in 2025, up from $720 billion in 2019.

VLCC Healthcare’s upcoming IPO comprises a fresh issuance of equity shares worth Rs 300 crore and an offer for sale of more than 8.92 million shares by promoter and existing shareholders, according to the Draft Red Herring Prospectus. Founders Vandana Luthra and Mukesh Luthra hold 44.35% and 24.37% stakes, respectively, in the company.

The company plans to utilise the proceeds from the sale of fresh shares to expand operations of wellness clinics in India and overseas, and of training institutes. Funds would also be used for brand development, digital and information technology infrastructure and payment of debt.

In 2015, the company had filed draft papers for a public listing and had received clearance, but then dropped the IPO plan.

VLCC, which also manufactures and sells personal care products, operates in 12 countries, with direct company-managed operations in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand and the UAE, it said in a statement.

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