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Nicholas Piramal rechristened Piramal Healthcare

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e-swasthya campaign, $800-m international fund planned

Restructuring under way: M. Ajay G. Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Group and Dr. Swati A Piramal, Director-Strategic Alllances & Communications, at a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Restructuring under way: M. Ajay G. Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Group and Dr. Swati A Piramal, Director-Strategic Alllances & Communications, at a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday.

“The new identity is for people to internalise the cos’ philosophy, with plans of democratizing healthcare.” – Ajay Piramal

Our Bureau

Mumbai, March 11

From a rural e-swasthya initiative to an international real-estate fund, the Piramal Group is poised to roll several initiatives across its different businesses, the Chairman, Mr Ajay Piramal, said unveiling the Group’s new corporate identity.

The re-branding exercise coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Group’s flagship company, Nicholas Piramal India Ltd, now rechristened Piramal Healthcare Ltd (PHL). Without giving any financial targets, he said, the new identity is for people to internalise the company’s philosophy, even as it envisages plans like “democratizing healthcare” – where the company is looking at innovative delivery systems and services, he added.

The company’s pharmaceutical business will continue to grow along the domestic and customs manufacturing segments. The customs manufacturing segment, where it manufactures products for overseas customers, will now be called “pharma solutions”. Looking forward, PHL seeks to add value in such partnerships, he said.

Similarly, Gujarat Glass, will now be called Piramal Glass Ltd. The company is the largest supplier of nail-polish bottles in the world, besides supplying to reputed consumer goods companies. The plan is to move up the value chain, he added.

Research partner

The company is open to diluting a small percentage of equity in its recently demerged research entity, he said. The research entity will get listed in June, and is being approached by strategic investors and private equity (PE) companies interested in the research entity, he said.

A decision on the road ahead, in terms of taking on board an investor or a PE firm would be decided in a year after the research entity is listed, he said. Independent valuations estimate the research entity to be valued between $480 million and $540 million, he said. The research entity has five molecules undergoing clinical trials, which would go up to eight this year, said Dr Swati Piramal, Director Strategic Alliances with the Group.

Reit Fund

The Group is also poised to launch its second, larger international fund through its Indiareit Fund Advisors Pvt Ltd. The fund would look to raise about $700-$800 million overseas to fund projects in India through the foreign direct investment route, Mr Piramal said. The fund has a $250-million commitment from 3i Plc, he said, adding that different approvals are expected by April.

E-healthcare

The company’s diagnostic and pathology services would now be called Piramal Diagnostic Services Private Ltd and this company would grow through organic and inorganic growth, Dr Piramal indicated. The company would enter States where it does not have a presence, besides getting into speciality clinics in the ophthalmology, dentistry and cosmetology segments, she said.

The company has also embarked on an e-swasthya campaign, spearheaded by son Mr Anand Piramal. The campaign has been launched in Rajasthan, he said, where a nurse helps communicate ailments of local people to doctors, who diagnose the illness and prescribe medicines that are delivered back to the people. Still at a preliminary stage, if it takes off, the plan is to cover 100,000 villages in five years, Mr Piramal said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 12, 2008)
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