The Business Year

Marcos Bueso

SPAIN - Health & Education

Marcos Bueso

CEO, GeneraLife

Bio

Marcos Bueso graduated in economics from the University of Valencia in 1996, He has 25 years of professional experience in the consulting and private healthcare sectors. In his first professional stage he specialized in professional advice on mergers and acquisitions at PwC, until in 2007 he stepped into the health sector at Clí­nica Baviera, an ophthalmology company in which he spent 13 years, the last seven as CEO. Since April 2020, he has been CEO at GeneraLife.

“There are many patients from other countries who travel to Spain to undergo these treatments due to the quality of treatments and expertise here.“

GeneraLife, owned by the investment fund Investindustrial, started operations in 2020 after the acquisition of Ginefiv in Spain; FertiCare in the Czech Republic; Genera, Livet, and Demetra in Italy; Carl Von Linnékliniken in Sweden; and ultimately, Ginemed in Spain and Portugal. Can you introduce the company for us?

In just a few months GeneraLife has become one of the three leaders in the fertility market in Europe. We are leaders due to the high volume of treatments performed in our clinics, the number of patients attending and babies brought to the world, but specially thanks to the excellence in our medical outcomes and the important contribution of our scientific directors and senior doctors to the specialty. Science, good management and cutting-edge medicine are the basic pillars of GeneraLife.

What will be the strategy for unify these different business models following the acquisitions of businesses that have been operating for over 30 years?

We have been extremely careful in identifying the clinics that we wanted to be part of the platform. Part of the requirements that we implemented when selecting those clinics is prestige, reputation, and having a well-known team of professionals. One of our goals is not to lose the essence and prestige of the clinics, so we are extremely mindful of the factors that have led to their success. Some have professionals who are extremely well-known in the sector. One opportunity for us is to have the same best practices across all clinics, so we will standardize our best-practice policies. The penetration rates for assisted reproduction treatments is considerably different in Spain compared to other parts of Europe. In the case of Spain, about 9% of newborns are conceived through assisted reproduction practices. In other countries, the rate is as low as 2%; therefore, the opportunity in Europe is huge. Spain is certainly a reference in this sector; about 50% of egg cell donations in Europe take place in Spain, which is why our headquarters are here. We can implement all our knowledge and capacity in Spain, which is a more advanced market, into other European markets. We are extremely interested in Italy because it has a huge potential for growth even though there is great competition there. We have several clinics in Italy and are market leaders there.

Every year 33,000 babies—or one in 10—are born in Spain through assisted reproduction. What makes Spain such an advanced country in this sector?

There are many patients from other countries who travel to Spain to undergo these treatments due to the quality of treatments and expertise here. There has been a great deal of innovation here by doctors from many specialties, who have invested heavily in this area. The public sector has also supported private investment in this sector. There are other countries in Europe where the private initiative cannot be a player in the health market. Another factor is that other countries have imposed many restrictions, which has not created a positive environment. There are countries in Europe where single women, same-sex couples, or more mature women are denied access to these assisted reproduction techniques. However, Spain allows all these cases to access assisted reproduction treatments.

Some 14,000 assisted reproduction cycles in Spain could not be carried out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which means about 4,000 fewer births, according to the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF). What impact has the pandemic had on your business?

In the case of Spain, the impact has been fairly contained. Among other factors, in Spain we have a deep penetration at a local level. The patients in our Madrid clinic are mainly from Madrid and the clinic does not depend heavily on foreign patients. During the worst weeks of the lockdown, we had to offer our services to the public health system to address the challenges of the pandemic. Fortunately, when economic activity resumed, patients returned, and the patient profile was again heavily local.

Before the last acquisition, GeneraLife had 15 clinics, and the volume of its business exceeded EUR40 million. How did you close 2020, and what is your forecast for 2021?

Despite the COVID-19 impact, in 2020 we achieved our target of EUR 40 million in revenues. For 2021, we expect to be very close to the EUR 90-million level, after the recent acquisition of Ginemed. Vaccination efforts are getting stronger every day, so we have to see how the situation evolves. However, in a possibly normalized scenario we should reach that 90-million target.

What are your expansion plans?

We are considering different new opportunities. We are mostly focused on the markets where we are already present. We do not rule out opening operations in other countries, though our priority is in the five countries where we are already present. We are evaluating different opportunities via acquisitions in those other markets. We seek companies that have had a great performance in the industry and a high level of scientific performance. Additionally, those companies must have demonstrated a commitment to financial success and their patients in their decision-making process. Those are the type of companies that we are eying for potential acquisitions.

Is there any regulatory change that do you think it is needed in Spain?

In this sector, scientific associations play a significant role. We have an association at the national level and another at the European level. We have a strong health management division that allows us to provide a better value proposition to the client. In this sector, it is paramount to have the best protocols and scientific activities. Our professionals are active in scientific journals, for example. The most important thing is to gain the respect of the health industry, and to achieve that we have to be extremely methodical in our scientific processes.

What is your main target for 2021?

The main target for 2021 is to reach a turning point in the sector. We want to become the player that completely changes the rule of the sector. The most important thing is to provide the best services to patients so that they feel welcomed and trust us in their difficult path. We want to show them there are different ways of doing things. We want to provide them with the best of science.

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