Where the Rich are Investing 2018

Arjun Handa

The managing director of Claris Lifesciences is open to new business opportunities, besides steadily investing in real estate

Soumik Kar

Arjun Handa in one word is ‘dapper’. A man of taste, his sprawling and aesthetic penthouse in Ahmedabad is dotted with photographs, books and paintings. 

In 2017, his company, Claris Lifesciences, sold its injectables business to the US-based Baxter International, raking in a mammoth Rs.42.4 billion. Prior to the sell-off, 80% of the family wealth went back into the business, with real estate cornering 15%. “We are evenly spread out after the sale. It gives us the flexibility to look at newer areas,” says the 38-year-old, who has now started investing in equities.

If you think Handa is slowing down, think again. He admits to being obsessed by “action and activity” and nothing excites him more than building a business from scratch. With that kind of time invested, he is not apologetic about his expected return. “If it’s my business, it should generate 25-30% return, while I am happy with 12-15% coming from external investments.”

Handa is conservative as an investor but aggressive as a businessman. “It’s two different personalities at play,” he grins. Real estate is an asset class he has been partial to, encompassing land, commercial and residential properties in and around Ahmedabad. “It is a steady investment and will grow at its own pace.”

His team of nine has the mandate to look for new business opportunities even as he is intrigued by the consumer space. “There is a lot to be done with innovative products. Hence, investing in start-ups looks like a good option,” says Handa, who is also open to venturing out on his own. 

In Handa’s mind, any investment takes five years before it starts to yield return. “Only time helps you earn money. It took 15 years for us to get Claris to a position of strength,” says Handa. Looks like an encore could well be in the offing.

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