BW Businessworld

Best CFO Awards 2016-17 | The M&A Man

How the leading pharma company relies on strong financials for growth

Lupin’s rise to the top league of Indian pharma companies has been rapid and it was substantially supported by some of its key M&As that enabled its entry into the world’s most strategic markets. The company made at least a dozen buyouts in the last 10 years and the master brain that made these deals most successful and synergetic was none other than a sharp-witted finance man—its CFO Ramesh Swaminathan.

Swaminathan has guided Lupin through numerous M&As and enabled the company’s successful entry into some of the largest pharmaceutical markets globally. His thrust has always been in understanding the drivers of value creation in an unpredictable business environment.

“As a CFO, I have always endeavoured to have a deep understanding of the drivers of value creation in an increasingly unpredictable and volatile business environment,” he says.

With over two decades of experience in leadership positions in the finance domain, Ramesh Swaminathan has held key finance and management portfolios in many large organisations both in India and abroad.

A key member of Lupin’s core strategy think-tank and a board member, he is also currently responsible for the corporate strategic planning for the company.

Prior to joining Lupin, Swaminathan was with Henkel in Germany, where he was the Regional Financial Controller for several countries across the Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. He has also worked with companies such as VST Industries (the BAT Group), the Spic Group and the Standard Chartered Bank and has a successful track record of building finance as a key business enabler and fostering collaboration in a culturally diverse workplace.

Lupin’s vice-chairman Kamal Sharma had said at the time of Swaminathan’s appointment that, “We have attracted some of the best international talents in the area of R&D, finance, etc. Ramesh Swaminathan’s international experience will help us bring globally benchmarked best practices to Lupin.”

Swaminathan has delivered his best during the last 10 years and is looking forward to more in the future.

“Having stitched together over a dozen acquisitions over the last 10 years, I believe that M&A is all about calibrated aggression — creating value through the right structures, integrating operations for cost and revenue synergies and mitigating accompanying risk,” says Swaminathan.

Lupin, currently the fastest growing top 10 generic pharmaceuticals players in Japan, had acquired Kyowa Pharmaceutical in 2007, and I’rom, Pharmaceutical (IP) in 2011 in that market. In 2014, Lupin entered into a strategic JV agreement with Toyama-based Japanese pharmaceuticals company, Yoshindo to create YL Biologics. It entered the Australian market through the acquisition of Generic Health, which subsequently acquired the worldwide marketing rights to the over-100-year-old Australian brand Goanna.

In 2014, Lupin acquired 100 per cent equity stake in Laboratories Grin, a specialty pharmaceutical company in Mexico. This marked their entry into Mexico and the larger Latin American pharmaceuticals market. In May 2015, Lupin entered the Brazilian market with its acquisition of Medquímica Indústria Farmacêutica, Brazil. Two months after the Brazilian buy, Lupin acquired New Jersey-based generic drugs firm Gavis to boost its presence in the US.

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