Bat­tling Hardto Suc­ceed

AMEERA SHAH TURNED HER FA­THER’S NON­DE­SCRIPT CLINIC INTO ONE OF THE LARGEST PATHOL­OGY CHAINS IN IN­DIA.

Business Today - - THE MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN BUSINESS - By P. B. JAYAKUMAR

AMEERA SHAH, Pro­moter and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Me­trop­o­lis Health­care, worked as a CEO, ac­coun­tant, sales per­son and even as a re­cep­tion­ist when she got on with turn­ing around her fa­ther’s lab­o­ra­tory from Dr Sushil Shah’s Lab­o­ra­tory to Me­trop­o­lis Health­care. “There were no com­put­ers or mo­biles then in our of­fice,” re­calls Ameera. Work­ing in a re­source-crunched en­vi­ron­ment, Ameera re­alised women en­trepreneurs needed a lot more than just ideas and funds.

With this thought, she re­cently launched Em­pow­er­ess, a not-for-profit ven­ture, which men­tors women en­trepreneurs, and pro­vides ex­pert guid­ance and funds. Al­ready more than 3,000 women en­trepreneurs across In­dia are her fol­low­ers. “Women in busi­ness need huge sup­port be­yond fund­ing and

WHY SHE MAT­TERS

Has launched a new ven­ture to em­power women en­trepreneurs fi­nan­cially

ideas to suc­ceed in life and busi­ness,” says Ameera, a new en­trant to Busi­ness To­day’s “Most Pow­er­ful Women” list­ing.

She is not yet 40, but has al­most two decades in lead­ing a busi­ness. She trans­formed Me­trop­o­lis into one of the largest pathol­ogy chains with over 4000 em­ploy­ees, 130 lab­o­ra­to­ries across six coun­tries and han­dling con­duct­ing over 16 mil­lion blood sam­ples and pro­files a year. While grow­ing the busi­ness, she had to en­counter a bit­ter board­room bat­tle with a pro­moter hav­ing equal eq­uity stake. She won the bat­tle in 2015, per­son­ally bor­rowed ` 600 crore from pri­vate eq­uity firm KKR to pur­chase shares and paid off that money.

While Ameera was study­ing in the US, her fa­ther was run­ning Dr Sushil Shah’s Lab­o­ra­tory at Opera House in South Mum­bai. Her mother Duru Shah, a gy­nae­col­o­gist, was run­ning a small clinic. When she re­turned from the US in 2001 – af­ter ac­quir­ing a de­gree in fi­nance and work­ing briefly with Gold­man Sachs and later with a start-up – Dr Sushil Shah’s Lab­o­ra­tory had 40 em­ploy­ees and rev­enues of ` 7 crore a year.

“We wanted to make the lab­o­ra­tory known out­side Mum­bai, and turn it into an in­sti­tu­tion,” re­calls Ameera. Shah was al­most close to clinch a deal with a big Tamil Nadu-based busi­ness group, but that got stalled af­ter the sud­den death of its pro­moter. That was when GSK Velu, a health-care en­tre­pre­neur, teamed up for ex­pan­sion. The com­pany name was changed to Me­trop­o­lis.

Me­trop­o­lis is present across In­dia, West Asia and Africa. In 2006, it raised pri­vate eq­uity cap­i­tal from ICICI Ven­tures. Four years later, War­burg Pin­cus bought out ICICI’s stake and a bit from the pro­mot­ers, valu­ing the firm at ` 600 crore. By 2009, Velu moved into a non-ex­ec­u­tive role and Ameera be­came the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor. In 2015, she bought out War­burg’s 27 per cent stake with the back­ing of pri­vate eq­uity firm KKR. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, Car­lyle Group ac­quired Velu’s stake for an es­ti­mated ` 800-900 crore. Cur­rently, the Shah fam­ily holds about 70 per cent stake and the firm is val­ued at about ` 6,500 crore.

“Go­ing forward, we will grow in North and East In­dia and will add more in South In­dia. We plan to in­vest $10 mil­lion in next 3-4 years in tech­nol­ogy,” says Ameera.

AMEERA SHAH Pro­moter&MD, MetropolisHealth­care

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