Friday, May 09, 2008

Samir Mehta & Vijay Mallya steal the show this fortnight...


Of high spirits & audacity
Samir Mehta & Vijay Mallya steal the show this fortnight...

A trillion dollar economy – that’s what India is now; and although business confidence seems to have dipped this quarter (as per FICCI Business Confidence Index), India Inc. is still going strong. We have Samir Mehta, MD, Torrent Pharmaceuticals and flamboyant entrepreneur Vijay Mallya of UB Group and Kingfisher Airlines, who have completely overawed the global and Indian business circles. The past fortnight bore testimony to both men chasing their dreams. One was a grand success, while the other missed by a whisker. India Inc. derives immense encouragement from such successes, and even the failures keep fighting spirit alive and kicking... Though Samir Mehta was not successful in his bid to acquire Merck KGaA’s generic business, he still made headlines. When bigwigs like Actavis of Iceland and Ranbaxy pulled out of the race, citing stretched valuations, Mehta of Torrent hung in there till the very end. He made a bold bid of $6.3 billion, which was only cut short by Mylan Laboratories’ $6.7 billion bid.

The Torrent fight was backed by three global private equity giants – UK based Greater Pacific Capital and Tudor Investment Corporation, and US-based Fortress Group. The motivation driving Mehta was – had he been successful, Torrent Pharma would have emerged among the top five global generic players in the world. When Samir joined the business at the age of 22, he brought with him not only the acumen of a good businessman but also the much required youthful vigour and enthusiastic attitude. Under his leadership, Torrent ventured into the field of medical electronics and also set up a specialised unit, Torrent Novo that deals with diabetes care products. Under his zeal, Torrent Pharmaceuticals has become the leading exporter of healthcare products in the country. With a vision ‘to be leader in pharmaceutical industry’, the company is performing phenomenally well, with global sales for the last fiscal being Rs.1,001 crores, showing a growth of 77% over previous year. At the other end of the spectrum, we have Vijay Mallya, the flamboyant liquor baron who recently made news of sorts by not only making India witness the touchdown of an Airbus A380 for first time, but also by buying Scottish liquor manufacturer Whyte & Mackay. Mallya, Chairman of United Breweries, acquired Whyte & Mackay at a price of $1.21 billion that will ensure Mallaya’s entry into the power corridors of Scotch whisky industry.

Hitting the headlines once again was Mallya owned Kingfisher Airlines, which in a move to include A380s in its fleet, has placed order for five of them with an option to buy five more at a later date. The deal is expected to cost the business tycoon $300 million for each. Rated as the world’s 746th richest man by Fortune magazine, Vijay Mallya took Chairmanship of UB Group in 1983 and has ever since taken the company to greater heights. Under his leadership, UB Group has become world’s third largest spirits producer by volume, with acquisition of Shaw Wallace last June. In 2005 when he ventured into aviation sector with the launch of Kingfisher Airlines, he made history by being the only Indian airline to operate with all new aircrafts. However, this maverick’s entrepreneur’s interests are not limited to business alone. He leads an active political life (as Rajya Sabha MP) and is also known for his flashy lifestyle, besides having a strong inclination toward sports. Here’s a man who’s plays by his own rules.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2008

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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