The Business Year

Dr. Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty


Listed on FTSE 100 Index

Founder and Chairman, BRS Ventures


Dr. Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty
Founder and Chairman, BRS Ventures

Dr. B R Shetty arrived in the United Arab Emirates in 1973 and has since established BRS Ventures; one of the leading and premium business houses in the country with a global presence and numerous successful acquisitions. He started his innings in 1974 with the launch of NMC Healthcare, the first private healthcare facility in the United Arab Emirates. His commitment to provide state-of-the-art facilities enabled NMC to be listed on the London Stock Exchange and included as a part of the coveted FTSE100 index. With the growth of the UAE’s expatriate population, he identified the need for a smart exchange solution to serve the money transfer and currency exchange market. He then ventured into the remittance and foreign exchange sectors, where he launched UAE Exchange and acquired Travelex, which have become global leading brands and are part of Finablr, a holding company listed on the London Stock Exchange. In 2003, he set up Neopharma, a state-of-the-art pharmaceuticals manufacturing facility with collaborations with multinational companies such as Pfizer, Merck, Abbot Laboratories, Hetero Pharmaceuticals and Biocon among others.
Diversified business interests led Dr. Shetty to open quality institutions in the education, hospitality and environment sectors. He acquired the Assam Tea Company in India, and established BR Life, a leading healthcare services brand headquartered in Bengaluru, India. Dr. Shetty currently operates multi-specialty healthcare facilities in India, Nepal, Africa and the Middle East. His many business accomplishments and social work earned him a medal from the Abu Dhabi Awards, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the government of Abu Dhabi, and the Padma Shri award, one of the highest civilian awards bestowed by the government of India. The late Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former president of India, conferred upon Dr. Shetty the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award for his outstanding contribution towards the betterment of the NRI (Non-Resident Indian) community.

“Abu Dhabi will continue to flourish as a hub for innovation and creativity.“

What is the vision behind BRS Ventures, and how has your current portfolio developed into one that has a significant global presence?

BRS Ventures is a holding company with diversified business operations across several strategic sectors that include Healthcare, Financial Services, Pharmaceuticals, Education, Vegetable Oil, Hospitality, Tea and Environment. The organization is headquartered in Abu Dhabi, although it has now established a global presence. NMC Healthcare, UAE Exchange, Travelex, Unimoni, Neopharma, BR Life, and Assam Tea Company, are all well-known brands. You will note, that many of my business ventures render a service to the public. This has allowed me to expand and explore opportunities in developing countries and engage in sustainable philanthropy.

Addressing a gap in the provision of services to the community has been a central theme and philosophy behind your businesses. As your portfolio broadens, how does this theme remain constant?

If you have quality, affordability, and are ethical in life, then money will follow. This is my lifetime mantra. Healthcare has always been a mainstay of my business ventures. We aim to provide a quality and affordable service in the most ethical manner. We acquired a 100-bed hospital in Alexandria, Egypt. We have expanded it to 650 beds. With proper management, systems, and discipline, we can develop further. Our staff have been instrumental in this growth. Moreover, we assist countries experiencing crisis. We have gone to Afghanistan, Nepal, and Iraq. Looking forward, these are countries that also exhibit growth opportunities. I am currently building a maternity and children’s hospital as there is demand for these in developing regions. I make these decisions based on my intuition. I learned these lessons through market studies. Consequently, it is all about how you think. Either you are optimistic or pessimistic. This comes with experience. I believe that the human touch must always remain constant, placing humanity before everything else has always been my philosophy.

What would your advice be for entrepreneurs and foreign investors who wish to become successful in the UAE?

Entrepreneurs should be like an elephant. They should be strong enough to stand on their own legs. They should have a long nose to sniff out what is going on. They should have small eyes to see what is happening and big ears to listen. They should remain quiet then roar. Elephants protect each other. Originality is the key for any promising entrepreneurs. They must have a unique concept in mind. Expo 2020 is not far off. This should deliver a major sentiment boost across the whole economy. The UAE is one of the most open and business-friendly nations in the world. This is complemented by world-class infrastructure.

Can you explain the listing of Neopharma in relation to the growth trajectory of your ventures? What is your outlook for the next decade?

It is our plan to list Neopharma in 2022. It would join NMC Health and Finablr which are already listed on the London Stock Exchange. I want to share my success with others and gain resources to invest in facilities. The London Stock Exchange is the preferred exchange for these activities due to liquidity and also my credibility. We are one of the only two home-grown companies from the region to list on London Stock Exchange. We are the first in the FTSE 100 index. We see healthcare and education as the key areas of development. Education has the power to improve the lives of people. If you educate the people, this will make the difference. I want to provide education online. Online education will help in India where I intend to start a medical college. When I came to the UAE, I did not have much. The opportunities I have had to become successful are thanks to the UAE’s benevolent rulers, royal family encouragement, the government’s initiatives, support, and presence. This is why I have decided to give back, by sharing my success with those in need. Abu Dhabi will continue to flourish as a hub for innovation and creativity. We are fortunate to live in a society such as the UAE’s.



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