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Poonawalla-backed Wellness Forever to file for Rs 1,600-crore IPO

The retail pharmacy chain will file its draft documents by end-September.

September 14, 2021 / 07:16 PM IST
(L-R) Mohan Chavan, Gulshan Bakhtiani, and Ashraf Biran, founders of Wellness Forever

(L-R) Mohan Chavan, Gulshan Bakhtiani, and Ashraf Biran, founders of Wellness Forever

Wellness Forever, an omni-channel retail pharmacy chain backed by Adar Poonawalla, will file draft documents with the capital markets regulator by the end of this month to raise Rs 1,500-1,600 crore through an initial public offering, people familiar with the plan told Moneycontrol.

The IPO will consist of a primary issue and an offer for sale of shares by existing investors, the people said.

Wellness Forever appointed IIFL Securities, Ambit Private and DAM Capital Advisors as the investment bankers for the proposed share sale.

An email query to Wellness Forever did not elicit a response.

Wellness Forever plans to expand to 1,000 stores by 2023. It owns most of its stores, but is open to the franchisee route.
The company will be the second pharmacy chain that’s coming up with an IPO. Last month, Hyderabad-based MedPlus filed its draft red herring prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

Mumbai-based Wellness Forever is the third-largest pharmacy chain in the country, with a turnover of Rs 870 crore in FY21. Its pharmacy stores, mostly 24x7, provide a self-browsing and differentiated shopping experience. It is present in 23 cities including Mumbai, Pune, Kolhapur and Satara in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka, employing more than 4,200 people.

The company was founded by Ashraf Biran, Gulshan Bakhtiani and Mohan Chavan in 2008. It raised Rs 130 crore from wealthy investors led by Poonawalla, chief executive officer of vaccine maker Serum Institute of India, in November 2020. Other backers include Amit Patni, Rajiv Dadlani and the Thakral family.

Wellness offers more than 30,000 prescription drugs and non-prescription wellness, health and personal care products via website, app and a tollfree number.

“I believe Wellness (Forever) has the highest retail revenue when compared to the store size and sells more health and wellness products than its peers,” an analyst who tracks the sector said on condition of anonymity. “Also, it has a massive, centralised distribution centre to meet its fill rates across its stores.”