“They infiltrated our borders; now they have taken our money in broad daylight,” was the outburst from a Hyderabad-based pharma industry veteran, on the IPO of Gland Pharma, which is currently trading 50% above its issue price of Rs.1,500. After the Galwan skirmish, the frostiness in Sino-Indian relations has also cast a shadow on Chinese investments in India. The 60-year-old former executive believes the government should not have let the Chinese-owned Fosun to list the injectables maker. “They already have a backdoor entry in the drugs business and now you have let them take our money as well,” berated the gentleman to Outlook Business. The Rs.65 billion IPO was the biggest in the domestic pharma space after that of Eris Lifesciences in 2017, Laurus Labs in 2016 and Alkem Laboratories in 2015.
Notwithstanding the ‘nationalist’ undertone, Gland was always an outlier compared to other Indian pharma companies. Established in 1978, Gland was founded by PVN Raju, who had pioneered Heparin technology (anticoagulant used to decrease the clotting ability of blood) in India in the ’60s, and set up the country’s first pre-filled syringe unit for low-molecular-weight heparin in 1998. Also, unlike Indian pharma players which were making it big in generic APIs, Gland stuck to just one business — injectables. Also, a majority of Gland’s business originated from the US and other developed markets.
While the homegrown biggies garnered all the attention, Gland hit the headlines when PE giant KKR picked up 35% stake in 2013, valuing the company at $650 million. Four years later, the Shanghai-based Fosun Pharma acquired 74% — the largest-ever buyout of an Indian business by a C