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Business Standard Italian pharma giant Menarini eyes India brands

  • It has started early stages of discussions with a handful of pharma companies Reghu Balakrishnan | Mumbai November 27, 2013

In line with the acquisition plans of global pharmaceutical giants, Italian company Menarini is keen on buying out an established product portfolio to strengthen its operations in India.

Menarini India, an arm of the $4.2-billion Menarini Group, is in the early stages of discussions with a handful of pharmaceutical companies to acquire brands in the cardiovascular, pain management and gastroenterology segments. According to senior officials, the company is eyeing acquisitions in the range of Rs 500 crore.

Girdhar Balwani, managing director, Menarini India, said, "We are in discussions with some Indian firms, but unreasonable valuation is a constraint. We expect the existing business to grow to Rs 250 crore by 2018; another Rs 250 crore is to come through a combination of OTC (over-the-counter) business and possible acquisitions," he added.

The company's projected revenue for 2013 is about Rs 100 crore (80 per cent from brands and 20 per cent from CSO (contract sales organisation).

Apart from brand buyouts, Menarini also plans to bring a few of its skincare medicines in the OTC category soon.

In India, Menarini has Hexilak Silicone Gel in the prescription segment for the removal of scars, and this is being considered for OTC promotion. "Once we are successful with the OTC promotion of Hexilak Silicon Gel, we would evaluate the scope of taking Acnelak, an anti-acne soap, and Papulex (cream/cleansing gel), and the dermo-cosmetic range for the management of acne," said Balwani.

Menarini had started operations in India in 1994 as Menarini Raunaq Pharma Ltd (MRPL), a joint venture with Raunaq Industries. In 2011, it strengthened its presence in Asia-Pacific by acquiring Invida Group, a leading CSO, and renamed the company Menarini Asia-Pacific. Earlier, Invida had acquired the dermatology and primary care brand portfolio from Delhi-based Shalaks Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd. Last year, MRPL was integrated with Invida India; it was rebranded as Menarini India this year.

Currently, Menarini India accounts for about 65 brands acquired and in-licensed from Invida India, ShalaksPharma, MRPL and Sinclair IS Pharma. Menarini has a field staff of 972 (442 in brands and 530 in CSO) in India. As part of its contract sales business, it also sells products of Boehringer Ingelheim and Johnson & Johnson.