Companies

How Bengal Chemicals & Pharma raced back into the black

Jayanta Mallick | Updated on July 31, 2019 Published on July 30, 2019

When Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BCPL) gave away 30 horses to a Gujarat-based NGO in 2017, it did not make headlines. But that was one of the clues to the clean-up that has been going on in the proverbial Augean stables.

BCPL, the country’s first pharmaceuticals company, maintained a stable at its Maniktala plant in Kolkata. It stopped producing anti-snake venom serum in 2007 in the absence of relevant infrastructure, proper systems and funds. The stable and 70 odd horses, required for developing the life-saving serum, however, stayed on even as the loss-making PSU slid downhill.

Now, back in the black after the management’s sustained efforts for five years, BCPL is looking forward to bring back the serum, a revenue spinner, into its pharmaceuticals product basket.

PM Chandraiah, Managing Director and Director, Finance, said: “When I joined BCPL in November 2014, the company and its Directors were listed in ROC’s ‘Defaulters’ List’ owing to non-filling of annual returns. I thought without updating records, it was not possible to know the financial status of the company. So, the annual accounts of three years (2012-13 to 2014-15) and six years’ cost audit report (2009-10 to 2014-15) were completed in just eight months - between January and August, 2015 -- to have cost records updated and to monitor and control expenditure.”

Thus began the new story for BCPL. It reported a net profit of ₹25.26 crore in 2018-19 against a net loss of ₹36.55 crore in 2013-14. All the operation and financial systems were overhauled. Accounting, revenue collection, payment, bill processing, payroll, stores and fund management were streamlined.

BCPL reduced procurement costs. Direct costs-to-sales ratio was reduced to 55 per cent in 2018-19 compared with 85 per cent in 2013-14.

The management took many administrative measures such as stoppage of cash transactions by opening more than 200 salary accounts and initiating an appraisal system for employees.

Home care

In the home care segment, introduction of convenient packaging and opening of five exclusive stores in Kolkata and Mumbai paid off. “We are aggressively trying to market our products through e-retailers such as Big Basket and Grofers as well as modern trade outlets like Big Bazaar or Reliance,,” the BPCL Managing Director said.

Published on July 30, 2019
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