Saturday, July 13, 2024

Nirma Group acquires eye drop maker Stericon Pharma

Mumbai: The Nirma Group has acquired Bengaluru-based Stericon Pharma Pvt Ltd, a maker of eye drops and contact lens solutions. The financial details were not disclosed, but a statement on the private equity (PE) firm InvAscent’s Linkedin page said Nirma had acquired 100% stake in the business from the founders and the PE firm. This acquisition is part of Nirma’s grander strategy to expand its health care presence. Aculife Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, the group’s healthcare subsidiary sells medical devices and critical care medicines under its Nirlife and Oneuse brands.

The deal is in the 350-380 crore range, a person with knowledge of the matter said on condition of anonymity.

The business has strengthened both in domestic and international markets under founders Gurdeep Singh and Divakar Chandran, the PE firm InvAscent Advisors, that largely focusses on healthcare investments.

Torreya Partners and Mirae Asset Capital Markets were advisors to the deal.

Stericon’s eye drops and contact lens cleaning solutions, are sold in nearly 50 countries today, it added. India Life Sciences II Fund, managed by InvAscent Advisors, had acquired around 45% stake in Stericon Pharma in 2016 for around $7.5 million, according to VCCEdge. “The company faces intense competition from overseas players and large domestic entities, which have better brand visibility and pricing terms,” according to a Crisil Ratings report dated 14 March 2023.

Stericon reported net sales of 87.6 crore in FY22, on a profit of 14.9 crore. In FY21, Stericon reported 56.5 crore in net sales, on a profit of 2.7 crore, according to VCCEdge. Stericon has more than 200 drug licenses and provides contract manufacturing services for eye and ear drops, according to its website.Nirma, Stericon Pharma and InvAscent did not provide comments on Monday.

In September 2022, Mint reported that Nirma may place a bid on Manish Pharma Ltd, which makes tuberculosis medicines and hormone products, besides dermatological ointments and creams.

Founded by Karsanbhai Patel, a first generation entrepreneur, the small Gujarat-based group started off selling washing powder under the Nirma brand.

Nirma, which last acquired the cement businesses of Lafarge for 9,000 crore and the cement business of Emami Ltd for 5,500 crore, has been screening healthcare assets to expand its footprint in the sector.

It has now expanded into other segments, including cement and ready-mix concrete. Within a short timeframe, Nuvoco Vistas, the Nirma Group’s cement flagship has grown to become the fifth-largest cement manufacturer in the country.

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