Medley Pharma likely to be sold in deal worth Rs 5,000 crore
Medley Pharma, the privately held Mumbai-based company, is on the block. Drug majors like Cipla, Dr Reddy’s, KKR-backed JB Chemicals, and Torrent, along with marquee private equity investors Advent, Carlyle and Blackstone are seen as potential buyers for its Rs 1,000-crore business. The deal size is expected to be in the range of Rs 4,000-5,000 crore.
A mid-sized player, Medley Pharma — founded by Sami Khatib in 1969 as ‘Medley Laboratories’ — is among the top 40 pharmaceutical companiesin India, according to healthcare market research firm IQVIA. Khatib’s second generation — Suhel, Sarosh and Sahir — manage the company now.
It has manufacturing plants in the domestic formulations market, primarily in the hematinic, anti-diarrhoea, cardiovascular, anti-diabetes, analgesic and anti-ulcer segments. Gastroenterology, anti-diabetes and gynaecology drugs contribute two-thirds of revenues, with top brands like Telmed, RB Tone, Vogli, O2 and Dompan. Certain brands launched first in India include Dompan (Domperidone & Pantoprazole), O2 (Ornidazole & Ofloxacin), Tazocef (Tazobactum & ceftriaxone) and Ostium k2 (first brand of vitamin K27 combination in India.
According to a recent report from credit rating agency Crisil the company’s revenue is estimated to have grown by 16% to Rs 926 crore for fiscal 2022, from Rs 800 crore in the previous year, backed by increased contribution from the acute segment (about 53% of the overall sales) and rest from chronic therapies. It is expected to maintain growth of over 8-10% over the medium term, driven by its established position in the domestic formulations market and increasing focus on the chronic segment (which now accounts for 47% of sales, as compared to 30%, a few years ago).
Two of its products, RB Tone and O2 (to treat hematinic deficiency and diarrhoea, respectively) feature among the top 300 brands, according to market research data. In fiscal 2022, about 53% of revenues came from acute therapies, and the rest from the chronic segment. The company’s product profile is moderately diversified with the top five brands accounting for 57% of revenue.
Sources said that the promoters are looking at a strategic sellout, including all assets, with Cipla possibly being a frontrunner. The company did not comment till the time of going to the press.
Medley’s operating margins improved to 21% in fiscal 2022 and should sustain at 19-21% levels, aided by an improvement in scale and better fixed cost absorption. Additionally, there’s a focus on increasing supplies to regulated markets, which fetch higher realisations. The share of exports reduced to 13% of revenue in fiscal 2022, from 15-18% earlier, owing to logistic challenges and discontinuation of sales to certain African countries such as Uganda and Sudan, where certain earlier payments are still stuck.
The company will continue to export to the UK and Europe and focus on increasing contributions from these markets. It has also started supplying to the US from fiscal 2022. Though there is a subsidiary in Russia, the business scale is negligible (revenue of Rs 2-4 crore).
Armed with a modest loan of Rs 200,000 under the technician-entrepreneurs scheme of The Maharashtra State Finance Corporation and driven by a determination to succeed, Sami Khatib managed to get a toehold in a tough industry. The company’s first formulation plant was set up at Aurangabad in 1976 for tablets, capsules and liquid orals, followed by units at Daman and Jammu. The company exports to 26 countries in southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Russia and the CIS.