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Piramal charts global acquisition plan


Piramal Healthcare will persist with its tested growth strategy of acquisitions to be counted among the world’s top five contract manufacturing firms by 2015, but with a notable difference.

The drug-maker’s buyout compass will now be centered on niche global companies.

“Over the next three-to-five years, we plan to make Piramal Healthcare among the top five contract research and manufacturing services (CRAMS) company with over a billion dollar revenue,” says Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Healthcare. The strategy would be a big departure from one zealously followed for 22 years.

Piramal Healthcare has constantly snapped up the domestic businesses of foreign companies, beginning with the purchase in 1988 of Australia’s Nicholas Laboratories, which was exiting India. The Indian businesses of Swiss major Roche, German company Boehringer Mannheim, Hoechst Marrion Roussel Research Centre, Rhone Poulenc India, ICI India Pharma Division and Aventis’ research facilities helped Piramal grow into a Rs.3,700crore company. 

Piramal already seems to have started new buyouts in earnest. Recently, the company bought assets of sick Canadian medical device firm BioSyntech for about Rs.17 crore. “In the west, drug companies are not doing well and it is an opportunity for us. We want to leverage the advantages India has. Those advantages pertain to India’s standing as a low-cost destination favored by global innovator companies for outsourcing drug development and manufacturing work because of an imminent loss of sales from patent expiry and lack of big-box drugs in the pipeline”, adds Ajay Piramal.