As reported by IMS Health, emerging markets will register a growth rate of 14% to 17% by 2014, when the developed markets will be growing by 3% to 6% during the same period. It is forecasted that the global pharmaceutical industry will record a turnover of US$1.1 trillion by this period.
Mega consolidation process in India begins in 2009:
Fuelled by the above trend, the year 2009 witnessed the second biggest merger, so far, in the branded generics market of India when the third largest drug maker of Japan, Daiichi Sankyo acquired 63.9 percent stake of Ranbaxy Laboratories of India for US $4.2 billion.
This was widely believed to be a win-win deal for both Ranbaxy and Daiichi Sankyo, when Daiichi Sankyo will leverage the cost arbitrage of Ranbaxy effectively while Ranbaxy will benefit from the innovative product range of Daiichi Sankyo. This deal also establishes Daiichi Sankyo as one of the leading pharmaceutical generic manufacturers of the world, making the merged company a force to reckon with, in the space of both innovative and generic pharmaceuticals business.
Another mega acquisition soon followed:
Daiichi Sankyo – Ranbaxy deal was followed in the very next year by Abbott’s acquisition of the branded generic business of Piramal Healthcare in India. This deal, once again, vindicated the attractiveness of the large domestic Indian Pharma players to the global pharma majors.
In May 2010, the Pharma major in the US Abbott catapulted itself to number one position in the Indian Pharmaceutical Market (IPM) by acquiring the branded generics business of Piramal Healthcare with whopping US$3.72 billion. Abbott acquired Piramal Healthcare at around 9 times of its sales multiple against around 4 times of the same paid by Daiichi Sankyo.
Was the valuation right for the acquired companies?
Abbott had valued Piramal’s formulations business at about eight times sales, which is almost twice that of what Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo paid for its US$4.6 billion purchase of a controlling stake in India’s Ranbaxy Laboratories in June 2008.
According to Michael Warmuth, senior vice-president, established products of Abbott, the acquired business will report to him and will be run as a standalone business unit after conclusion of the merger process. Warmuth expects that the sales turnover of Abbott in India, after this acquisition, will grow from its current around US$ 480 million to US$2.5 billion in the next decade.
On the valuation, Warmuth of Abbott has reportedly commented “If you want the best companies you will pay a premium; however, we feel it was the right price.” This is not surprising at all, as we all remember Daiichi Sankyo commented that the valuation was right even for Ranbaxy, even when they wrote off US$3.5 billion on its acquisition.
For Abbott, is it a step towards Global Generics Markets?
It is believed that the Piramal acquisition is intended towards achieving a quantum growth of Abbott’s business in the IPM. However, it is equally important to note the widely reported quite interesting statement of Michael Warmuth’s, when he said, “we have no plans immediately to export Piramal products [to third-country markets] but we will evaluate that. You won’t be at all surprised that if we evaluate that.”
The Key driver for acquisition of large Indian companies:
Such strategies highlight the intent of the global players to quickly grab sizeable share of the highly fragmented IPM – the second fastest growing and one of the most important emerging markets of the world.
If there is one most important key driver for such consolidation process in India, I reckon it will undoubtedly be the strategic intent of the global pharmaceutical companies to dig their feet deep into the fast growing Indian branded generic market, contributing over 98% of the IPM. The same process is being witnessed in other fast growing emerging pharmaceutical markets, as well, the growth of which is basically driven by the branded generic business.
Important characteristics to target the branded generic companies in India:
To a global acquirer the following seem to be important requirements while shortlisting its target companies:
• Current sales and profit volume of the domestic branded generic business
• Level of market penetration and the rate of growth of this business
• Strength, spread and depth of the product portfolio
• Quality of the sales and marketing teams
• Valuation of the business
What is happening in other emerging markets? Some examples:
The most recent example of such consolidation process in other emerging markets happened on June 10, 2010, when GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced that it has acquired ‘Phoenix’, a leading Argentine pharmaceutical company focused on the development, manufacturing, marketing and sale of branded generic products, for a cash consideration of around US $253 million. With this acquisition, GSK gains full ownership of ‘Phoenix’ to accelerate its business growth in Argentina and the Latin American region.
Similarly another global pharma major, Sanofi-aventis is now seriously trying to position itself as a major player in the generics business, as well, with the acquisition of Zentiva, an important player in the European generics market. Zentiva, is also a leading generic player in the Czech, Turkish, Romanian, Polish, Slovak and Russian markets, besides the Central and Eastern European region. In addition to Zentiva, in the same year 2009, Sanofi-aventis also acquired other two important generic players, Medley in Brazil and Kendrick in Mexico.
With this Sanofi-aventis announced, “Building a larger business in generic medicines is an important part of our growth strategy. Focusing on the needs of patients, Sanofi-aventis has conducted a regional approach in order to enlarge its business volumes and market share, offering more affordable high-quality products to more patients”.
Faster speed of such consolidation process could slow down the speed of evolution of the ‘generics pharmaceutical industry’ in India:
As the valuation of the large Indian companies will start attracting more and more global pharmaceutical majors, the revolutionary speed of evolution of the ‘generics pharmaceutical industry’ in India could slow down. The global companies will then acquire a cutting edge on both sides of the pharmaceutical business, discovering and developing innovative patented medicines while maintaining a dominant presence in the fast growing emerging branded generics market of the world.
Recent examples of Indian companies acquired by global companies:
1. Ranbaxy – Daiichi Sankyo
2. Dabur Pharma – Fresenius
3. Matrix – Myalan
4. Sanofi Pasteur – Shanta Biotech
5. Orchid – Hospira
6. Abbott – Piramal Healthcare
Indian Pharmaceutical companies are also in a shopping spree:
It has been reported that by 2009, around 32 across the border acquisitions for around US $2 billion have been completed by the Indian pharmaceutical and biotech players. Recently post Abbott deal, Piramals have expressed their intent to strengthen the CRAMS business to make good the drop in turnover for their domestic branded generics business, through global M&A initiatives.
Some of the major overseas acquisitions by the Indian Pharmaceutical and Biotech companies:
1. Biocon – Axicorp (Germany)
2. DRL – Trigenesis Therapeutics (USA)
3. Wockhardt – Esparma (Germany), C.P. Pharmaceuticals (UK), Negma (France), Morton Grove (USA)
4. Zydus Cadilla – Alpharma (France)
5. Ranbaxy – RPG Aventis (France)
6. Nicholas Piramal – Biosyntech (Canada) , Minrad Pharmaceuticals (USA)
What is happening in other industries?
In spite of the global financial meltdown in 2009, the future of M&A deals in India looks promising across the industry. Some of the major offshore acquisitions by the Indian companies are as follows:
Mega acquisition of foreign companies by Indian companies:
• Tata Steel acquired 100% stake in Corus Group on January 30, 2007 with US$12.2 billion.
• India Aluminum and Hindalco Industries purchased Canada-based Novelis Inc in February 2007 for
• The Oil and Natural Gas Corp purchased Imperial Energy Plc in January 2009 for US $2.8 billion.
• Tata Motors acquired Jaguar and Land Rover brands from Ford Motor in March 2008. The deal
amounted to $2.3 billion.
• Acquisition Asarco LLC by Sterlite Industries Ltd’s for $1.8 billion in 2009
• In May 2007, Suzlon Energy acquired Germany’s- wind turbine producer Repower for US$1.7 billion.
Mega acquisition of Indian companies by foreign companies:
• Vodafone acquired administering interest of 67% owned by Hutch-Essar, on February 11, 2007 for US
• The Japan based telecom firm NTT DoCoMo acquired 26% stake in Tata Teleservices for USD 2.7
billion, in November 2008.
An alarm bell in the Indian Market for a different reason:
It has been reported that being alarmed by these developments, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) has written a letter to the Department of Pharmaceuticals, highlighting, “Lack of available funding is the main reason for the recent spurt in the sale of stakes in domestic companies”.
The letter urged the Government to adequately fund the research and development initiatives of the Indian Pharmaceutical Companies to ensure a safeguard against further acquisition of large Indian generic players by the global pharmaceutical majors. To a great extent, I believe, this is true, as the domestic Indian companies do not have adequate capital to fund the capital intensive R&D initiatives.
Will such consolidation process now gain momentum in India?
In my view, it will take some more time for acquisitions of large domestic Indian pharmaceutical companies by the Global Pharma majors to gain momentum in the country. In the near future, we shall rather witness more strategic collaborations between Indian and Global pharmaceutical companies, especially in the generic space.
The number of high profile M&As of Indian pharma companies will significantly increase, as I mentioned earlier, when the valuation of the domestic companies appears quite attractive to the global pharma majors. This could happen, as the local players face more cut-throat competition both in Indian and international markets, squeezing their profit margin.
It will not be a cake walk…not just yet:
Be that as it may, establishing dominance in the highly fragmented and fiercely competitive IPM will not be a ‘cakewalk’ for any company, not even for the global pharmaceutical majors. Many Indian branded generic players are good marketers too. Companies like, Cipla, Sun Pharma, Alkem, Mankind, Dr.Reddy’s Laboratotries (DRL) have proven it over a period of so many years.
We witnessed that acquisition of Ranbaxy by Daiichi Sankyo did not change anything in the competition front. Currently the market share of Abbott, including Solvay and Piramal Healthcare, comes to just 6.4% followed by Cipla at 5.5% (Source: AIOCD). This situation is in no way signifies domination by Abbott in the IPM, even post M&A.
Thus the pharmaceutical market of India will continue to remain fragmented with cut-throat competition from the existing and also the newer tough minded, innovative and determined domestic branded generic players having both cost arbitrage and the spirit of competitiveness.
Simultaneously, some of the domestic pharmaceutical companies are in the process of creating a sizeable Contract Research and Manufacturing Services (CRAMS) sector to service the global pharmaceutical market.
In my view, it does not make long term business sense to pay such unusually high prices for the generics business of any company. We have with us examples from India of some these acquisitions not working as the regulatory requirements for the low cost generics drugs were changed in those countries.
Most glaring example is the acquisition of the German generic company Betapharm by DRL for US$ 570 million in 2006. It was reported that like Piramals, a significant part of the valuation of Betapharm was for its trained sales team. However, being caught in a regulatory quagmire, the ultimate outcome of this deal turned sour for DRL.
Could similar situation arise in India? Who knows? What happens to such expensive acquisitions, if for example, prescriptions by generic names are made mandatory by the Government within the country?
By Tapan Ray
Disclaimer: The views/opinions expressed in this article are entirely my own, written in my individual and personal capacity. I do not represent any other person or organization for this opinion.