Albert David Limited: On The Growth Path
|“After completion, the parenterals (SVP) unit at the Kolkata unit will be one of the most advanced facilities in the entire Eastern region”
– Kamal Prasad Mundhra Executive Director
Albert David Limited
Today, the Indian pharmaceutical sector is growing constantly meeting almost 95 per cent of the country’s pharmaceutical needs. The export value is increasing and the pharmaceutical industry is the net positive foreign exchange earning sector of the industry amidst fierce worldwide competition.
The Indian pharmaceutical companies in order to sustain and grow in this highly competitive era need to focus on some key areas like developing world-class production facilities, strengthening their marketing effort and putting thrust on their R&D activities.
Kolkata’s leading pharma company, Albert David Limited has realized the nuances of operating in this competitive era and charted out its future growth strategies accordingly.
Elaborating on the growth strategies, Kamal Prasad Mundhra, Executive Director, Albert David Limited says, “We have zeroed on few therapeutic areas on which we plan to concentrate in the next couple of years. Firstly, we want to consolidate our position in these areas and then move up the ladder.”
As a part of the consolidation efforts, the Company has invested to the tune of Rs. 52 crore in modernization-cum-expansion of its existing manufacturing units in the country.
Albert David has manufacturing facilities in Kolkata, Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh and Mandideep in Madhya Pradesh.
“We hope to complete the entire exercise by the end of the current year. The existing facility at Kolkata has been upgraded to meet the international benchmarks and we will soon go in for US-FDA approvals. We have invested to the tune of Rs. 20 crore in our Kolkata plant,” says Mundhra. The work on the project is on the last phase and commercial production will commence shortly.
‘After completion, the parenterals (SVP) unit at the Kolkata unit will be one of the most advanced facilities in the entire Eastern region’, claims Mundhra.
“Secondly, we have gone for major capacity upgradation at our facility in Ghaziabad. The small volume parenteral unit at our Ghaziabad plant is now capable of producing 5 crore units per annum using the latest Form-Fill-Seal (FFS) technology. We also plan to upgrade our production facilities at the Mandideep factory where the company produces medical disposable,” he adds.
The Company will acquire significant strength in production of oral solids, liquids, ointments and medical disposables once the proposed modernization-cum-expansion programme is completed.
“In this age of globalisation, Indian pharma companies cannot afford to remain a mere spectator. To face the challenges of the ‘new’ economy, we need to produce quality products and for that we need to upgrade our manufacturing facilities to global standards. Those who think differently will be wiped out by competition sooner or later,” he said.
Albert David manufactures and markets a wide range of pharmaceutical finished dosage forms for different therapeutic segments, medical disposables and a wide range of IV fluids.
The Company is operating in major therapeutic segments like NSAIDS, anti-bacterials, anti-ulcerants, neurotropics, placental extracts, small and large volume parenterals, dermatological products and disposable syringes and needles.
The Company is a part of the GD Kothari Group of companies having diverse interests in textiles, engineering items, tea plantations, chemicals, salt processing and international trading.
The Company’s net turnover touched Rs 141 crore in the last financial year (2006-07) against Rs 117 crore netted in 2005-06.
“This year we are eyeing to touch the Rs. 180-crore mark,” says Mundhra. He adds, “To survive and grow in this competitive era, it is not only important but imperative for the domestic pharma companies to develop new molecules and launch new products and increase their product offerings.”
In another significant development, the Company has decided to focus more on some fast-growing therapeutic areas and enter new areas having high business volume and growth potential. The major areas where the Company plans to focus are gastroentrology, gyanaeocology, herbals, paediatrics and opthalmology. Nutraceuticals will be another thrust area of the Company.
Mundhra said the new product patent regime has thrown up new opportunities for the existing players. Now Indian pharma companies having strong sales and marketing infrastructure can enter into contract-marketing, co-marketing, exclusive marking rights (EMR) alliance with a domestic pharma giant or a MNC. This will also open avenues for export growth in the overseas market. “Keeping this in mind we have strengthened our marketing initiatives in the country”, he says.
The Company is also open to the idea of entering into a contract-manufacturing agreement with a domestic giant or a MNC at a later stage to optimally use its idle capacity. But nothing has been firmed up yet, he says.
Research & Development
Elaborating on the R&D efforts of the Company, Mundhra said, “Research & Development has been carried out to develop and design new products with maximum therapeutic values on a regular basis and improvement in quality of the existing products.”
Steps have been taken for further development of nutritional supplement, gyanecological products and ophthalmological range of products. As part of its modernization-cum-expansion programme, the Company has upgraded the existing R&D facilities at its manufacturing facilities specially in Kolkata.
Albert David has also set up a dedicated R&D team for further development of its six-decade old flagship product, ‘Placentrex’. The team consisting of eminent scientists and research scholars is working at its R&D center in Kolkata. The Company is a leader in human placental extract therapy.
“We have also strengthened our R&D efforts by entering into ‘Industry-Academia Partnership’ with leading research institutes of the country. The Company is presently engaged in such programmes with the Department of Biotechno-logy of Calcutta University and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, a CSIR research institute,” he informs.
Albert David is also concentrating on promoting its brands. “Today some of the products of the Company have emerged as the leading brands in the country. Within two and half years of its launch, ‘ACTIBILE’—the Ursodesoxycholic acid tablet is going to become a Rs 10 crore brand soon and so is ‘EVICT’, the Lactulose Solution which is likely to become a Rs 8 crore brand,” he adds.
“Our aim is to promote eight fast-moving ‘power brands’ of the Company and touch the Rs 200-crore mark quickly,” he adds. During the current year, the Company plans to introduce some new products a nutritional supplement, gynaecological product, eye care products and an anti-vertigo drug.
“Exports will remain a key driver for growth for the Company in the years to come,” Mundhra predicts. “Our target will be to capture a sizable market share in the ASEAN nations like Vietnam, African countries and the neighbouring SAARC countries in the coming years.”
But presently the company is concentrating on tapping the huge export market in the neighbouring countries. “To replicate this idea we had set up a representative office in Myanmar and the response has been overwhelming,’ he adds. The company has now upscaled it into a full-fledged marketing office managed by a team of well-trained field staff, marketing officials and headed by a Country Manager. The company’s exports were to the tune of Rs 14 crore in the last financial year.
The company plans to launch new brand extension products soon. Besides, they would strengthen their R&D efforts and take steps for further development of nutritional supplement, gynaecological products and ophthalmic range of eye-care products.