Business Standard

Pharma barons swallow FDA bitter pill

Combined net worth of country's top 8 pharma promoters down by Rs 42,000 crore since 2015

Krishna Kant  |  Mumbai 

Source: AIR twitter handle
Source: AIR twitter handle



India’s top pharma barons are feeling the heat of a greater regulatory scrutiny in their bread-and-butter US business. In the past 12 months, the NSE Pharma Index is down 12.7%, losing the most among all sectoral indices, which has hit the fortunes of the country’s top pharma promoters. In comparison, the benchmark NSE Nifty is down 5.7%, while BSE Sensex is up 4.3% since the end of 2015.

The combined market capitalisation of the country’s top eight pharma companies that are part of NSE Pharma Index is down 16%, as investors worry about the earnings impact of a greater US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scrutiny of the manufacturing practices of top pharma exporters. This has hit the fortunes of the country’s top pharma promoters, most of who rank among the country’s richest businessmen. In all, their combined net worth has declined by Rs 42,000 crore since January last year. The top eight pharma promoters are now worth Rs 2.18 lakh crore, down from Rs 2.6 lakh crore at the beginning of January 2016.

The analysis is based on the share price changes and promoter holding of NSE Pharma Index companies since the close of trade on December 31, 2015. The analysis excludes GlaxoSmithkline Pharma, the Indian arm of global pharma major GlaxoSmithkline and Piramal Healthcare, which has a large financial services division.

Among individual promoters, losers include Dilip Shanghvi of Sun Pharma, Murali Divi of Divis Labs, Lupin’s Desh Bandhu Gupta, P V Ramprasad Reddy and K Nithyananda Reddy of Aurobindo Pharma and Yusuf Hamied of Cipla.

Exports to the US account for around 40% of the consolidated revenues for the country’s top pharmaceutical manufacturers in India. The USFDA, which regulates the manufacture and sale of health care and food products in the country, has raised concerns about the manufacturing practices of many pharma companies. Besides, the regulator has issued import alerts against some manufacturing units of Indian pharma manufacturers. This has forced many companies to cut their exports to the US, as export licences are unit-specific rather than company-specific.

In absolute terms, Dilip Shanghvi has been the biggest loser with nearly Rs 22,000 crore of decline in his net worth due to a slide in Sun Pharma’s share price in the past one year. His 55% stake in the company is now worth Rs 86,160 crore, down from Rs 1,08,476 crore at the beginning of January last year.

Murali Divi, the founder of Divis Labs, has, however, taken the biggest knock in relative terms, losing more than a third of his net worth due to a crash in Divis Labs share prices after the company received a warning letter from the FDA in November last year.

Promoters of Aurobindo Pharma lost more than a fifth of their 2015 net worth, while Lupin’s Gupta family saw an 18% erosion in the market of their shareholding.

Experts see more pain for the pharma sector, as the key US market will see a protectionist economic policy under Donald Trump, who takes over as President this week. For example, in his first press conference after the election results, he had accused pharma manufacturers of overcharging. “Indian pharma companies are already facing headwinds with the regulator in the US. Even a small negative move by the new administration could take the wind out of growth of pharma exports from India,” says G Chokkalingam, founder & chief executive officer, Equinomics Research & Advisory.

Pharma promoters take a knock

Value of promoter's stake (Rs crore)
Company Promoter Dec 31, '15 Jan 13, '17 Chg (%)
Divis Laboratories Murali K Divi 15,972 10,286 -35.6
Aurobindo Pharma # P V Ramprasad Reddy 27,555 21,414 -22.3
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Dilip S Shanghvi 1,08,476 86,160 -20.6
Lupin # D B Gupta 38,524 31,518 -18.2
Cipla Yusuf Hamied 19,194 17,271 -10.0
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Glenn Saldanha 12,093 11,722 -3.1
Dr Reddy's Labs Satish Reddy 13,537 13,190 -2.6
Cadila Healthcare # Pankaj R Patel 25,098 26,775 6.7
All companies 2,60,449 2,18,337 -16.2
# Shareholding data as of Dec 2016, others as of Sep 2016
Source: Capitaline
Compiled by BS Research Bureau

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Sun, January 15 2017. 19:02 IST