The “two-man” operation that now employs over 14,000 — Sun Pharma is also India’s biggest pharmaceutical company by market value.

Dilip Shanghvi
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dna Research & Archives
First generation entrepreneur Dilip Shanghvi, promoter of Sun Pharma — world’s second largest generic drugmaker has become India’s richest surpassing Mukesh Ambani of the oil behemoth Reliance Industries. The list, compiled by Bloomberg, pegs Shanghvi at $21.6 billion at the end of day on Thursday. Mukesh Ambani has been the poster-boy of “richest lists” for a long time now. Recently, he made to the top of Forbes richest Indians list for the eighth consecutive time. The operation that now employs over 14,000 — Sun Pharma is also India’s biggest pharmaceutical company by market value.The company itself had only one product — Lithosun — when it began operations and today has business in 40 countries with over 200 pharmaceutical products. But how did Shanghvi reached the podium of India’s richest? He created Sun Pharma in 1982 and 11 years later opened India’s first pharma research and development centre. Post liberalisation, Shanghvi cashed on the India-story and took his company public in 1994. The IPO was oversubscribed 55 times! His eyes were set on being the leader in pharmaceutical market and entered the US market by purchasing Caraco Pharma in 1997. This not only gave him an unfettered access to the world’s toughest drug-market, it also was the first in 13 pharma companies that Shanghvi’s Sun Pharma went on to buy — the latest being beleagured Ranbaxy for $3.2 billion last year. The media took note of Shanghvi when he tried to buy Taro Pharma. The corporate takeover battle raged for six years which he lost in the end. In 2007, he offered nearly $500 million for Taro but failed. He, then, began a slow and tedious journey to buy 61% of Taro’s stock. In 2011, he offered to buy remaining shares but the offer was rejected an year later. It was then, Sun Pharma circled around Ranbaxy and agreed to spend over $3 billion to buy it from its Japanese owners. Recently Shanghvi came to the rescue of heavily-leveraged Suzlon Energy — owned by Tulsi Tanti to buy 23% stake for $290 million. Suzlon has been suffering from high debt and interest payment obligations after its strategy to expand inorganically failed miserably as the world economy slowed down after 2008 and orders for his company dried up. Suzlon recently sold its German company Senvion for $1.16 billion to pare some of its debt. Apart from this, Shanghvi also has stakes in Natco Pharma, Bio Light Israeli Life Science.Pharma stocks have had a good run on the Indian stock markets and Sun Pharma has shown remarkable 46% gains over the past year. Moreover, over the past five days Sun Pharma has climbed from Rs 883 per share to Rs 1037 on the Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensex at Thursday’s close.Shanghvi’s flirtations with the top-spot may be shortlived as he surpassed Ambani largely due to the jump in Sun Pharma’s stock price where he owns 61% stake. Moreover, he is only nearly $100 million ahead of Ambani.

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India’s Richest: How Dilip Shanghvi surpassed Mukesh Ambani