Piramal Enterprises to acquire four Pfizer brands for $16.5 mn
Other | Photo Credit: Reuters

Piramal Enterprises Ltd said on Friday it has agreed to purchase four brands from drugmaker Pfizer Ltd for Rs 110 crore ($16.5 million), making this the billionaire Ajay Piramal-led company’s third acquisition in the consumer healthcare segment in the past six months.

The company, through its consumer products division, will purchase Ferradol, Neko, Sloan’s and Waterbury’s Compound brands from the Indian unit of Pfizer Inc., it said in a stock-exchange filing.

The agreement also includes the trademark rights for Ferradol and Waterbury’s Compound in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Ferradol, launched in 1982, is a nutritional supplement for children and adults. Neko, launched in 1967, is a medicated soap indicated for body odour and minor skin infections. Sloan’s, launched in 1982, is muscular pain reliever. Waterbury’s Compound, launched in 1970, is used for building cough and cold immunity.

These products operate in a market which is estimated at Rs 7,000 crore, Piramal said.

Earlier, Piramal had acquired brand Little's for an undisclosed amount in November 2015. This was followed by the acquisition of five over-the-counter brands from global drug giant Merck for Rs 92 crore in December.

Nandini Piramal, executive director at Piramal Enterprises, said that acquisitions is one of the routes to help the company achieve its aim of becoming a top-three player in the OTC market by 2020.

Piramal Enterprises entered the OTC market with the acquisition of Saridon from Roche Holding AG and Lacto Calamine from Duphar Interfran Ltd in the early 1990s.

The company launched its consumer products division in 2007. Apart from headache drug Saridon and Lacto Calamine lotion, its portfolio includes the emergency contraceptive i-pill that it purchased from Cipla Ltd in 2010 for Rs 95 crore.

The division also sells pain-relieving mouth ulcer gel QuikKool, antacid Polycrol, medicated soap Tetmosol, Jungle Magic perfumes as well as dermatology brand Caladryl, acquired from Valeant Pharmaceuticals two years ago.

Cipla’s sale of i-pill marked its exit from the OTC drugs market. But, in a show of confidence in the OTC market in India, Cipla announced its plan to move its consumer healthcare business into a separate unit in July 2015. It cleared all regulatory hurdles earlier this year to formally float its consumer healthcare business, which is backed by PE firm Eight Roads Ventures. (Click here to read more about Cipla’s plan for its consumer healthcare business).

Novartis, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline and Reckitt Benckiser are among the multinational firms that have a strong presence in the Indian OTC segment. Other domestic companies such as Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd have also established their presence in the market.

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