Medical technologies and services giant GE Healthcare on Friday said it had merged its healthcare business unit in India with its joint venture partner Wipro to accelerate growth and focus in India along with the entire South Asian market. “The integration will simplify the structure and help us focus on the Indian market. It will help us in developing new products for India and in entering more markets,” GE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey R. Immelt said.

In Wipro GE Healthcare, GE holds 51 per cent stake, while the balance is with Wipro. Wipro GE Healthcare, which distributes 85 per cent of GE’s various healthcare and medical diagnostic products in India, will now incorporate Life Sciences, Medical Diagnostics and Medical Systems divisions. Stating that the joint venture company plans to increase the number of products it manufactures in India, Mr. Immelt said: “Over the next 5-10 years, our 50-70 per cent of the products sold in India should be developed and manufactured locally. We might also start exporting them soon.”

GE Healthcare President and CEO John Dineen said: “This is a natural next step for the very successful partnership we have had with Wipro in India. Simplifying our company structure will improve service for our customers and has the potential to accelerate the introduction of more cost effective, affordable and quality healthcare solutions in South Asia.”

Commenting on the merger, Wipro Chairman Azim Premji said: “GE has been our valued partner since 1990. Together we have defined many growth stories in the healthcare sector in South Asia. This consolidation under Wipro GE Healthcare further strengthens this relationship.”

According to Wipro GE Healthcare President and CEO V. Raja: “The entire merger would be completed within the next 12 months, depending on how fast you get the necessary approvals.”

On the future plans, he said, “there is huge potential in the Indian medical devices market which is worth about $ 3 billion and is growing at 12-13 per cent annually. We hope to garner a major chunk of this.”

As part of the integration, about 1,200 employees from GE various healthcare units would be moved into the joint venture company, which already has a headcount of 800. The company expects product categories like cardiology (ECG machines), infection treatment (CT and X-Ray) and maternal and infant care (incubators, warmers) to grow faster. While the Life Sciences and Medical Diagnostics business units now distribute GE Healthcare’s products outside of Wipro GE Healthcare, GE Medical Systems India manufactures X- ray machines and other diagnostic imaging products and accessories.

More In: Companies | Business