Dilip Shanghvi, the man behind Sun’s shine

PT Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on April 07, 2014

Dilip Shanghvi, Chairman, Sun Pharmaceutical

He can turn around Ranbaxy too, say industry peers

A risk-taker, a sharp analyser, and a shrewd businessman, all titles sit easy on Dilip Shanghvi, the Sun Pharma chief who has stirred a hornet’s nest by proposing a $4-billion merger with troubled Ranbaxy, say his peers in the industry.

Shanghvi is seen as being cautious and introverted, but that does not prevent him from going after a difficult asset and turning it around within the boundaries of his principles, say a cross-section of top executives in the pharmaceutical sector, familiar with Shanghvi’s style of working.

Other buys

Whether it was Caraco in the US, which Sun bought when its sales were down, or Israeli drug-maker Taro, which had voices of discontent from minority shareholders from Day One, Shanghvi has been involved in turning these companies around, they point out. Definitely a risk-taker, says DG Shah of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, a platform for large local drug-makers. The Ranbaxy buy is a risky one, given the US regulatory troubles that the company faces. Four of Daiichi Sankyo-owned Ranbaxy’s India plants are barred from selling drugs in the US. But Sun commands a certain respect in that market, he adds.

Shanghvi paints himself little differently. Announcing the transaction, he said the deal takes Sun closer to its long-held ambition of being a large specialty player globally. “Size is not something that excites us.” . It is the quality of the business and to grow faster than competition that is exciting, he added. And so, the Ranbaxy deal will pitch Sun as the top company in India, and put the combined entity at the top of 13 therapeutic segments.

Will this attract the attention of regulatory and competition authorities is something only time will reveal, as the merger gets implemented and translates into pricing in the marketplace.

Big-ticket traction

But on the day of this big-ticket transaction, several company chiefs admit on conditions of anonymity that the transaction shows that Daiichi has most certainly not been able to set right Ranbaxy’s regulatory problems.

The sharp analyser that Sanghvi is will bring a difference in the existing work culture in Ranbaxy, says the head of a multinational. So for people with the desire to do well, they will get the direction they need, says a top executive with Sun. Having worked closely with Shanghvi, he says his style is consultative and he works with a top-class team. But the final decision is Shanghvi’s, says the executive, adding that after all, the buck stops at his table.

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Published on April 07, 2014
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