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India’s first medical SEZ in doldrums

Friday, 28 Jun 2019
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The country’s first medical special economic zone (SEZ) and first Basic Medical Science Park in Tamil Nadu is in doldrums as its faces liquidation. Most activities, including breakthrough researches, have come to a halt as the banks declined to accept the one-time settlement offered by the Tamil Nadu government to salvage the project.

Without considering a proposal to lease labs and plots to biotech companies for revenue generation, banks have gone ahead with the insolvency process. The Frontier Mediville project spread across 356 acre, 45 km off Chennai, was initially planned to be a Rs 1,000 crore project.

The project was supposed to comprise a Basic Medical Science Park for research activities, a Bio-Hospital, a Sterile Bio-medical Corridor for producing medical consumables, disposables and pharmaceutical products and a 1,000-bed Medical University and Research and Training Centre among other related facilities.

Out of this, a 41 acre area was granted the special economic zone (SEZ) status to conduct research in basic and applied sciences, tissue based products, pre-clinical animal studies and clinical studies apart from medical and biotechnology courses in 2010.

In 2010, State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda sanctioned a total term loan of Rs 90 crore, of which Mediville drew Rs 38 crore from SBI and Rs 40.47 crore from Bank of Baroda. Rajasthan Venture Capital Fund (RVCF) had invested Rs 15 crore and picked up 11 percent stake in the company.

The Technology Development Board has a 16.56 percent stake and the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation too has a small share. In total, Rs 227 crore has been invested in the project. In 2013, the project was declared a non-performing asset. While the banks went ahead with the insolvency plan and fixed the liquidation value at Rs 134 crore.

The Tamil Nadu government offered to revive the project by providing a one-time settlement of Rs 70 crore to the banks, converting Mediville into a Medical City and putting up a community hospital on the premises. A Bio Enterprise Zone has been developed on 25 acre of land which could be leased out to biotech, pharma and medical devices companies.

 
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