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Top executive in Ranbaxy merger and acquisitions team resigns
May, 09th 2011

A top executive of Ranbaxy Laboratories' merger and acquisitions (M&A) team has quit, a development that insiders say reflects a change in strategy of the country's largest drug manufacturer, once known for its aggressive buyouts, to focus on organic growth.

The number two man in the dozen-odd member team, Sandeep Juneja , director (M&A) and Investor Relations, has just put in his papers, several persons familiar with the matter said. Earlier in November last year, Anil Khandelwal, head and director (M&A), had also left the organisation.

"The M&A activity in the firm has considerably slowed down and that explains the exits," a person familiar with the development said. The Ranbaxy spokesman said: "The company has significant depth of management and is adequately staffed to take care of any M&A opportunity that may arise."

Ranbaxy was most aggressive in buying firms during 2006 and 2007 under former promoters Malvinder and Shivinder Singh. In 2006 alone, it bought five companies overseas, Italy's AllenSpA, Terapia of Romania, Ethimed of Belgium, Spain's Mundogen and Be-Tabs Pharmaceuticals of South Africa.

Ranbaxy also picked up significant minority equity stake in several niche Indian drug manufacturers such as Zenotech Laboratories , Orchid Chemicals, Jupiter Bioscience and Krebs Biochemicals to foray into specialised therapeutic segments. Analysts say after Japan's Daiichi Sankyo took over the firm, it was but natural to expect the overseas acquisition drive to moderate. But Ranbaxy also scaled back its domestic deals.

In the last three years, the Gurgaon-based company bought just one firm, a small Bangalore-based biotech company Biovel Lifesciences for around Rs 50 crore.

Two persons close to the development said the company remains open to acquisitions but valuations of pharma firms are unreasonably high. "Ranbaxy has presence in all the key markets and therapeutic areas and it does not make sense to buy a firm for the sake of growing the top line," one of them said.

The second executive said all significant deals in India in the recent past involved an international buyer and other local drugmakers have not been too active in buying.

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