The domestic pharma company Nicholas Piramal India
Ltd (NPIL) has hiked its stake in Boots Piramal Healthcare
Pvt Ltd (BPH) by another 9 per cent. NPILs equity
stake in the joint venture (JV) has been increased from
the current 40 to 49 per cent.
move is to consolidate its position in the over-the-counter
(OTC) segment in India. BPH is a JV between NPIL and the
UK-based Boots Pls.
Say NPIL sources:
Given that BPH will be the driving force for NPIL
in the OTC segment and to reflect the changed product
portfolio, NPILs equity stake in the JV has been
increased from 40 to 49 per cent. NPICL was restructured
recently and henceforth it will focus only on OTC products.
NPIL brands like
Polycrol and Lacto Calamine will be marketed by this JV,
say the sources. The company will also work as a
super distributor for Saridon, a leading brand in the
anti-pain segment. It is expected that these new products,
along with Strepsils and Clearasil, will enable BPHL to
become a leading OTC company in India.
As part of the
restructuring, leading brands like Melalite and Lobate
will now be withdrawn from the JV and marketed by a newly-created
division of Nicholas Piramal Glotek from
the current fiscal. For the financial year ended March
2002, BPHL had posted a 30-per cent rise in net profit
at Rs 5.68 crore, while the turnover at Rs 40 crore showed
a growth of 22 per cent over the previous fiscal.
The sources say
BPHL is currently evaluating the options of enhancing
its portfolio of brands that can be sold through general
stores. The company is planning to enter the OTC segment
in categories such as vitamins, minerals and supplements
where it still does not have a presence. It is also planning
to foray into the herbal market, either by acquiring or
establishing a new brand in this segment.
By enhancing its
portfolio of OTC brands, it is hoping to make inroads
into a network of general stores that stock its products.
Focusing primarily on its five key brands (Clearasil,
Saridon, Polycrol, Strepsils and Lacto Calamine), the
company is looking at increasing its basket of goods,
which will include developing or acquiring herbal brands
The brands of Boots
Healthcare include Strepsils (medicated sore throat lozenge),
Ultra Clearasil (acne treatment cream), Icy (throat lozenge)
and Sweetex (artificial sweeteners). The OTC brands from
Nicholas include Aspro (an analgesic), Lacto Calamine
(a skincare lotion) and Polycrol (an antacid).
Saridon, with a
Rs 27-crore turnover, is its biggest brand of the JV,
followed by Strepsils (at Rs 16 crore), Polycrol (Rs 10
crore), Clearasil (Rs 7 crore) and Lacto Calamine (Rs
5 crore). The company is hoping to develop each of these
brands as mother brands with line extensions following
the OTC market at Rs 2,500 crore with growth rates hovering
between 12 and 15 per cent, the company has decided to
invest heavily in its brands, since the UK-based Boots
has already targeted India as one of its most important