Reliance Industries Limited through its wholly-owned subsidiary Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL) has acquired majority equity stake in Chennai-based Vitalic Health Pvt. Ltd. and its subsidiaries (collectively known as ‘Netmeds’) for approximately ₹620 crore ($83 million) in cash.
The investment represents 60% holding in the equity share capital of Vitalic Health and 100% direct equity ownership of its subsidiaries including Tresara Health Private Limited, Netmeds Market Place Limited and Dadha Pharma Distribution Pvt Limited.
“This investment is aligned with our commitment to provide digital access for everyone in India,” said Isha Ambani, Director, RRVL.
She added that Netmeds enhances Reliance Retail’s ability to provide affordable health care products and services, and also broadens its digital commerce proposition to include most daily essential needs of consumers. “We are impressed by Netmeds’ journey to build a nationwide digital franchise in such a short time and are confident of accelerating it with our investment and partnership,” she said.
Incorporated in 2015, Vitalic and its subsidiaries are in the business of pharma distribution, sales, and business support services. Its subsidiary also runs an online pharmacy platform, Netmeds, to connect customers to pharmacists and enable door step delivery of medicines, nutritional health and wellness products.
Reliance Retail had, in May, tied up with Netmeds to deliver groceries also, from its online retail store JioMart.
Pradeep Dadha, founder & CEO, Netmeds, said, “With the combined strength of the Reliance’s digital, retail and tech platforms, we will strive to create more value for everyone in the ecosystem, while providing a superior Omni Channel experience to consumers.”
This acquisition comes days after Amazon India launched ‘Amazon Pharmacy’ in Bengaluru and will conduct pilots in other cities.
Amazon also partnered with US-based firm Giant Eagle Pharmacy in November to allow users of its artificial intelligence-based virtual assistant Alexa to request prescription refills.
RIL, on the other hand, has been planning to scale up its grocery and pharmacy platforms through its SMART Point outlets.
E-pharmacies is a large market in India and the retail segment is a fragmented one, ripe for consolidation.
According to an EY report, the addressable medicine market for e-pharmacies is likely to reach $18.1 billion by 2023 from $9.3 billion in 2019, a compounded annual growth rate of 18.1%.