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Sunday, Jan 18, 2004

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Gulf Oil Corpn close to buying pharma unit

M. Ramesh

Chennai , Jan. 17

GULF Oil Corporation is close to acquiring a pharmaceutical company based in Hyderabad. Sources, who disclosed this, however did not want to give any further information, pending completion of all formalities of the deal.

They said that the unit was "smallish", with a turnover of about Rs 10 crore. It is not a listed company.

"We expect to make an announcement about this when we declare our third quarter results," senior officials of the company told Business Line. They said that negotiations with the sellers were over, but the formal agreement was yet to be signed.

The Rs 400-crore Gulf Oil Corporation, a unit of the Hinduja group, had announced its intention to get into pharmaceuticals, about six months ago. It was then said that the company would invest Rs 20 crore in creating facilities for the manufacture of bulk drug intermediaries. However, the company's products portfolio, as mentioned in its Web site, does not include any bulk drug.

Its pharma foray has happened by virtue of an extension of its expertise. The company, originally a lubricants producer, got into the explosives and detonators business by a merger of another group company, IDL Industries Ltd, two years ago.

Some bulk drugs can be manufactured using explosives technology. "Since we have expertise in explosives, we thought of diversifying into this area," the Gulf Oil's Managing Director, Mr Subhas Pramanik, has been quoted as saying.

The company now plans to further diversify into agro products, bio-tech and other chemicals too.

More Stories on : Mergers & Acquisitions | Diversification | Pharmaceuticals

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