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Elder Pharma in JV with Nepal firm

April 10, 2006 11:13 IST

Elder Pharmaceuticals is setting up a drug manufacturing company in Nepal in partnership with Universal group of Kathmandu.

The pharma company will be a 60:40 joint venture between Universal group and Elder in which the Indian company will initially invest Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million).

The Rs 300-crore (Rs 3-billion) Elder Pharma has been marketing some of its therapeutics in Nepal thorough its local network and it has a direct marketing team of about 30 people there.

The joint venture company — Universal Elder Pharmaceuticals— will manufacture drug formulations keeping in view the nature of the local market.

"Universal Elder Pharma will have two manufacturing units. The first unit would make beta-lactam antibiotics such as amoxycillin, ampicillin, cephalasporins etc, while the second unit would produce non-beta-lactam products such as pain killers, vitamins and cardiac products," said the sources.

"The Nepal venture is part of our global expansion strategy. Also , the company has recently started a direct sales and marketing subsidiary in Ghana," said Alok Saxena, director-international business, Elder Pharma.

This will be Universal's maiden entry in pharmaceutical market. The group plans to explore the opportunity the local pharmaceutical market offers which is currently pegged at Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion).

At the same time, the pharmaceutical industry in Nepal has lot of potential for foreign direct investment. At present, there are about 35 drug manufacturing companies in Nepal, which includes the state-owned Royal Drugs.

However, most of these companies are producing non-patented drugs and form 27 per cent of the doestic market.

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C H Unnikrishnan in Mumbai