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Nimmagadda Prasad: `Fastest wealth creator' in Indian pharma space

C.R. Sukumar

`Sharing wealth is the best way of enhancing it'

With the latest deal with Mylan, Mr Prasad is now personally richer by around Rs 570 crore. Of this, he is investing close to Rs 115 crore back in Mylan and joining their board.

Hyderabad , Aug. 28

A capitalist by profession and a socialist in practice. That is how the latest billionaire from India, Mr Nimmagadda Prasad, likes to be known as. The 45-year-old Executive Chairman of Matrix Labs should be a `highly-satisfied' man, a day after concluding the successful deal with Mylan Laboratories Inc of US.

His dream of creating wealth, which he pursued with a relentless passion, has come true in a big way. Exhibiting high skills in the tough game of mergers and acquisitions, Mr Prasad managed to sew up the biggest acquisition deal in Indian Pharma sector as of now, for Matrix (valued at Rs 4,700 crore), with the global third largest generics major Mylan Laboratories.

Big leap

Six years is all it took the first generation entrepreneur to get into the top league of creating wealth of over $1 billion . For Matrix Labs, starting from a `meagre' $1 million this is a significant achievement in contemporary corporate history. Mr Prasad who has earned the sobriquet of a `turnaround expert' began his entrepreneurial journey when he acquired the sick pharma company Herren Drugs in May 2000.

After turning it around and renaming it Matrix Labs, he went on to acquire several other Indian and global pharma companies with a combination of M&A strategy and global business initiatives.

Modest beginning

Born into an Army officer's family in 1961, Mr Prasad holds Masters Degrees in both Science and Business Administration. He started his career in 1984 as a Management Trainee in Delhi in Indian Molasses Company (an associate of United Molasses Co, UK). He joined French multinational Rhone Poulenc Chemicals (now Sanofi-Aventis) in 1989 as Area Sales Officer at Hyderabad and was later elevated as the Regional Sales Manager.

In 1993, Mr Prasad joined Vorin Laboratories as General Manager (Marketing) and went on to become its Managing Director in 1995. When Ranbaxy acquired controlling stake in Vorin Laboratories in 1999, he was reappointed as Senior Managing Director & CEO.

His acquisitions in the domestic pharma space include Medicorp Technologies in May 2002, Vorin Laboratories in September 2002, Vera Laboratories in March 2004, Fine Drugs & Chemicals in March 2004 and a controlling stake in Concord Biotech in January 2006.

Globally, he spearheaded the acquisition of Belgium-based Docpharma NV in June 2005, controlling stake in Mchem Group of China in September 2005, floated a joint venture with Aspen Pharmacare of South Africa in September 2005 and bought 43 per cent stake in Switzerland-based Explora Laboratories SA in September 2005.

`Team effort'

Mr Prasad attributes the success of Matrix Labs to the power of collective wisdom and participative management approach. True to his belief in institutionalising the organisation, he recently relinquished the CEO position and brought in a professional CEO. He implemented his belief that `the best way to enhance knowledge and wealth is to share it' by sharing his personal wealth of 20-lakh shares worth around Rs 30 crore with his staff for their housing and children's education through the Matrix Employees Welfare Association (MEWA). With the latest deal with Mylan, Mr Prasad is now personally richer by around Rs 570 crore. Of this, he is investing close to Rs 115 crore back in Mylan and joining their board.

Recognising his contribution to the corporate world, the Indian equity research firm, Motilal Oswal Securities had adjudged him the `Fastest Wealth Creator' for the last two consecutive years, 2004 and 2005.

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