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Metropolis adds 30 laboratories and 600-800 assembly centers in FY24 as part of expansion strategy


Metropolis Healthcare Limited plans to open an additional 30 laboratories and 600-800 collection centers in fiscal year 2024.

In FY21, the company aimed to add 90 pathology laboratories and 1,800 new assembly centers in four years. Since then, the company has opened 30 laboratories and 1,057 centers. The remaining 30 laboratories will open next year, Shah said.

The company’s revenues fell 7.7% year over year 282 crore in the quarter ending March, and net profit fell 16.5% to 33.5 crores. A notable decline in covid testing revenues, which accounted for 20-22% of all diagnostics company revenues last year, was highlighted as a primary driver of the decline.

Despite the significant contraction in covid-related revenues, revenues from Metropolis’ core business – excluding covid & covid allied, PPP contract and newly acquired Hitech Diagnostic Centers – experienced an encouraging 15% year-over-year growth. 245 crores in Q4FY23.

Ameera Shah, promoter and general manager of Metropolis, said the company was able to improve average realizations by 2% while increasing volumes by 13% year-over-year.

Competition within the diagnostics industry has increased, especially within the B2B segment, as online platforms offer significant discounts. Still, the direct-to-consumer (B2C) segment has remained robust, with little impact on pricing, as consumers continue to appreciate quality reports from trusted pathology labs. Shah confirmed that Metropolis is committed to expanding its B2C revenue, which has already risen to about 50% from about 42% a few years ago. The B2C sector experienced a 20% growth in FY23.

Metropolis continues to strengthen its presence in key West Indian markets. The company posted an 18% growth in B2C revenue in Mumbai and a 23% increase in Pune during Q4FY23, mainly due to increasing penetration, dense network and strong brand presence. In addition, non-Covid revenue from North India was up 30% year-over-year for Q4FY23, contributing approximately 8-10% to total revenue.

However, the massive expansions put pressure on Ebitda margins, which were 25.7% in the fourth quarter compared to 26.9% in the same quarter last year. Margins diluted by 1.2% due to expansion. Future investments will mainly focus on laboratory and technology expansion, as well as infrastructure improvements.

Despite the lack of specific forward guidance, Shah expressed hope that Metropolis would maintain its pre-covid growth rate of 15% and preserve its margins in view of ongoing expansions. She also noted a positive shift in customers from the unorganized to the organized sector after the pandemic, largely due to the perceived reliability of more sophisticated organized sector labs.

Shares of the company traded 2.3% higher 1,266.65 on the National Stock Exchange during early Thursday trading.

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Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.