New Delhi: The former chief executive and managing director of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, Malvinder Singh, says his energies are now focused on expanding his financial services firm Religare Enterprises Ltd and hospital chain Fortis Healthcare Ltd. As for Ranbaxy, Singh said in an interview he is confident about the drug maker’s future despite recent hiccups. Edited excerpts:
Global expansion: Singh says inorganic opportunities are clearly a very integral part of Religare Enterprises’ growth strategies. Ramesh Pathania / Mint
2008 turned out to be perhaps the worst year in Ranbaxy’s history. What went wrong?
I think the company is clearly on a strong footing of growth. In 2008, there really were two issues which impacted Ranbaxy. One was the significant movement on foreign exchange and, to a large extent, all those items that Ranbaxy had taken as loss were really non-cash items. And as the rupee continues to strengthen, which it is, you will see those profits being written back.
You have aggressive expansion plans as far as Religare is concerned. Will it be largely driven through inorganic growth?
I think it’s going to be a combination of inorganic and organic. Inorganic opportunities are clearly a very integral part of our growth strategies... I’m working towards building a global business.
In terms of assets under management, I believe there was a target of Rs10,000 crore over three years.
No, we exceeded that a long time ago. When we acquired Lotus, we were Rs3,000-3,500 crore. Today, it’s close to Rs11,000–12,000 crore. We have really ramped up four times.
Talks have happened between Fortis and Wockhardt (Ltd). What is the current situation?
We are very aggressively looking at many opportunities for growth in terms of looking at managing hospitals and also acquisition of hospitals in India. And I think there are a number of opportunities that are available that we would like to conclude as early as possible.
Which markets are you looking at (for Fortis)?
For Fortis, the priority that we are looking at is to be a very strong pan-India player. Over time, we would certainly go beyond India. We have the first international hospital; we have a joint venture in Mauritius. We will look at various emerging markets—whether it’s Middle East, South-East Asia or other emerging markets.