Sun has been rising quietly in India

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 08, 2014 01:00 IST

Dilip Shanghvi started Sun Pharmaceuticals as a maker of psychiatric drugs in 1983, the same year when Ranbaxy Laboratories began production of dosages at its then state-of-the-art facility in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh.

Thirty one years later, Shanghvi, now 58 years old, announced plans to buy Ranbaxy in an audacious $4 billion (about `25,000 crore) deal to buy Ranbaxy to become the world’s fifth largest generic drug company and India’s biggest pharmaceutical firm.

With a market cap of nearly $20 billion, Sun is India’s most valuable drug company that sells cheaper generic versions of blockbuster patented drugs such as Johnson & Johnson’s cancer drug Doxil and Novo Nordisk’s anti diabetic drug Prandin.

Shanghvi, a media-shy billionaire, has built the company almost brick-by-brick by small strategic acquisitions.

On last count, Shanghvi’s firm had bought 16 companies including major ones such as the acquisition of Israel’s Taro.

The BCom graduate from Kolkata University, is always on the prowl for buying out distressed assets, said an executive of a rival pharma company who did not wish to be identified.

“He maintains a cool demeanor in is day-to-day dealings, but is aggressive in decision-making, especially when it is about acquiring companies,” the executive said.

“We see tremendous growth opportunities and are excited with the prospects to create lasting value for both our shareholders through a successful combination of our franchises,” he said Monday, underlining the fact that Shanghvi saw Ranbaxy’ troubles with drug watchdogs actually gave an opportunity for a deal.

His operational style demonstrates his unconventional approach. In the early part of his company’s operations, Shanghvi, a first generation entrepreneur, focussed on India and US markets, when others were expanding in all corners of the globe.

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