Boots Piramal to enter vitamins, minerals, food supplements

Sanyal says besides 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 would include developing or acquiring herbal brands and products.

In fact, it was in April 2002 that the company decided to become a full-fledged OTC company, marketing healthcare products on behalf of both partners. Nicholas Piramal’s range of ethical drugs were shifted back to the parent company while its own list of OTC brands were included in the joint venture’s portfolio.

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). But the Rs 75-crore Boots Piramal is primarily focused on developing a handful of high-turnover brands from its present kitty.

Saridon, with a Rs 27-crore turnover, is its biggest brand, followed by Strepsils (at Rs 16 crores), Polycrol (Rs 10 crore), Clearasil (Rs 7 crore) and Lacto Calamine (at Rs 5 crore). The company is hoping to develop each of these brands as mother brands, with line extensions following them.

Pegging 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 markets. It has also earmarked Rs 15 crore for advertisement campaigns in the current fiscal.