Biotech Firm Avesthagen Appoints Managers For IPO

By Madhav A Chanchani

  • 02 Sep 2008

Private equity backed biotech company Avestha Gengraine Technologies Pvt Ltd (Avesthagen) has appointed DSP Merrill Lynch as its lead manager and four other banks - Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, UBS and ICICI Securities - as advisors to its upcoming public offering. The Bangalore-based firm will file the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) soon and is not going for any pre-IPO placement, according to a report. According to earlier reports the firm was planning to raise $100 million through its IPO.

Avesthagen has more than 140 patents and patent applications to its credit. The company has four strategic business units in biopharmaceuticals, food for medicine, seed for food, and science innovation.

Who Are The Investors In Avesthagen?


Avesthagen has raised about $42-44 million in funding since its inception in 1998. In January last year, Avesthagen had raised $32.5 million from Fidelity International, French companies Groupe Limagrain and Daninvest of Groupe Danone, besides the newspaper group Bennett, Coleman & Company. Fidelity had picked up around a 10% stake for about $13 million. This round of investment valued the company at $150 million, with foreign investment in Avesthagen adding up to 31%. 

Later in May, New York Life Investment Management India Fund had invested $5 million for a 5% stake. This deal was reported to be struck at a value of Rs 1,850 per share, and with the company valuation at $124 million. Before that Avesthagen has raised about $5-7 million from Indian corporates like Godrej, Cipla, the Tata Group (5% stake) and ICICI Venture ($1.5 million).

Future Plans


Avesthagen will also launch its product in domestic market by the end of next year, and will use the proceeds of the IPO to take its product to the public. The product will also be simaltaneously launched in Russia, Brazil and China. A launch in Europe is expected in 2013. The funds will be used for marketing and global branding. The monies raised will also be used for increasing the headcount and expansion of the manufacturing facilities.

Avesthagen is also banking on its one product, Avesta Genome project, to decide on its course and has allocated $32 million to it. Avesthagen already has some products in the market which include a range of cereals, crackers and muesli bars which are marketed under the “Good Earth” brand name. It also has Avestha Pills & Powder and Atash Seeds.

Avesthagen's Acquisitions


Avesthagen also has some acquisitions under its belt. The firm had acquired acquired Renaissance Herbs, a US dietary supplement company, for $11 million last year. Avesthagen, along with its French partner Groupe Limagrain, acquired Swagath Seeds Pvt. Ltd and Cee Kay Seeds & Seedlings Pvt. Ltd, both south based companies. Through its partnership with Cipla, it has also acquired Swiss firm Siegfried Biologics.  

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