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India amongst top-5 markets globally for GE HealthCare: South Asia Prez Sarawate

GE HealthCare's president and chief executive for its South Asia division Chaitanya Sarawate, sat down with DH’s Shakshi Jain to shed light on the brand’s journey in India, revenue expectations from financial year 2023-24 and plans going forward.
Last Updated 03 March 2024, 19:37 IST

As part of one of the longest-running joint ventures in India, US-headquartered GE HealthCare has been operating with Azim Premji’s Wipro Group for over three decades. Since 1990, the medical technology and digital solutions provider has grown to command a workforce of over 10,000 in the country. The company’s president and chief executive for its South Asia division, Chaitanya Sarawate, sat down with DH’s Shakshi Jain to shed light on the brand’s journey in India, revenue expectations from financial year 2023-24 and plans going forward. Edited excerpts.

What kind of year-on-year revenue growth are you looking to close FY24 with?

We’re hoping to close this fiscal year very strongly. We will do better than the market does. Low double digit, that is the growth level we have. This is across the entire spectrum of business that we do, which is design, manufacture, as well as distribute.

How would you rank India as a market for GE HealthCare?

For the products we make, the United States is the largest market in the world in the medical device industry. The second biggest would be China, third would be Japan. India would be fourth or fifth. From a manufacturing standpoint, roughly about 25% is consumed in India. The remaining is exported.

State the benefits received under the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for your manufacturing facility in Bengaluru.

The maximum allowable incentive amount under the government’s PLI scheme in the first year for any supplier stands at Rs 8 crore. In our PLI factory, we have achieved 100% of this claim, manufacturing and delivering products that include CT, Cathlabs and ultrasound machines.

We were recipients last year in April. For the entire five-year period, we have absolutely no doubt that we will hit both the investment and volume ceilings.

Elaborate on your expansion plans for the India business in the upcoming fiscal year.

We plan to exceed our initial PLI scheme commitments in manufacturing, potentially doubling our design team within a decade, and matching the anticipated market growth of 11-12% in distribution. The company's overall strategy indicates a strong focus on exceeding initial targets and capitalising on the market opportunities.

In the recent union budget, Rs 1 lakh crore in long-term loans was announced for any research and development by companies. We look at that with hope and are geared to participate as long as the rules are very clear in the incentive scheme. And we are geared up from the standpoint of partnering with educational institutions here in India.

How many patents have been filed by the India arm so far?

The total patents that have originated here in India is about 1,100. A vast majority of them have happened over the last 5-7 years. It wasn’t a core focus earlier on in our journey. More than 100 applications were filed in 2023. 

Any demands on the taxation front?

The fact that 40% of our sales here is originating in factories in India means that 60% is dependent upon input. As a domestic industry trying to grow and making sure that we have more manufacturing, there are two areas where we look forward to the government's partnership. One is making sure that there is a custom duty differential between finished goods that get manufactured here versus parts which might be coming from outside. This ensures that domestic manufacturers get an incentive for manufacturing finished goods here by importing parts which are sometimes not available from local suppliers.

The second is, we need an even bigger demand for medical technology, so that I have a large domestic market. So any help that can be offered by the government to provide us, or diagnostic centres in the form of rebates to them so that they’re able to set up more facilities. They get that rebate only if they buy from local manufacturers. It is something which would be highly valuable because it achieves the twin objectives of accessibility to care getting solved and the objective of ensuring that those hospitals are buying from local manufacturers.

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(Published 03 March 2024, 19:37 IST)

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