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The alchemist

March 18, 2008

Nicholas Piramal India (NPIL), one of India’s leading pharmaceutical companies, is going through a major makeover. And the man steering the transformation is Chairman Ajay G. Piramal, who has not only given NPIL a new corporate identity, complete with new names for the firm and its group companies as well as a new logo, but also announced ambitious expansion plans for its venture capital business.

Ajay G. Piramal
Ajay G. Piramal
While NPIL will be rechristened as Piramal Healthcare, group companies NPIL Laboratories and Diagnostics and Gujarat Glass will be known as Piramal Diagnostic Services and Piramal Glass, respectively. The group has also adopted the ancient yogic posture of Gyan Mudra as its new logo, which, according to Piramal, is in line with his idea of crafting an identity to unify the diverse companies of the group. “It epitomises knowledge, action and care, which are the core values of the group.”

That’s not all. Indiareit Fund Advisors, the real estate venture capital fund promoted by the Piramal Group, has announced plans to launch an offshore fund. “This will be an international fund of $700-800 million (Rs 2,800-3,200 crore). We already have a commitment of $250 million or Rs 1,000 crore (from 3i Plc),” says Piramal.

Name: Ajay G. Piramal

Age: 52

Designation: Chairman

Company: Piramal Group
Earlier, the group successfully hived off its R&D arm into an independent entity called NPIL Research & Development, which has now been renamed Piramal Life Sciences.

Analysts have valued the pipeline of drugs under development at the firm at $480-540 million (Rs 1,920-2,160 crore) and now Piramal plans to list it on the stock exchanges in June. In 2008, all eyes will be on Piramal, an alumnus of Mumbai’s Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, under whose stewardship the group’s revenues crossed Rs 3,000 crore in 2006-07. But given the deteriorating global and domestic sentiments, it will be interesting to see how his plans unfold.

Krishna Gopalan

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