New Delhi: Consumer goods company Dabur India Ltd is ready to put its money and management bandwidth behind its over-the-counter (OTC) healthcare business. Amit Burman, vice-chairman, speaks in an interview about his healthcare strategy and possible acquisitions. Edited excerpts:
You want to position yourself as a significant player in the OTC healthcare business. You say you are incubating the business currently, so what kind of investments are you going to put behind it?
I won’t say it’s an experiment; it’s an incubator... We have almost 300-350 (Ayurvedic healthcare) products which are out there, but they are basically marketed towards the rural end... We need to pick these star products and jazz (them) up and do good packaging.
Open to acquisitions: Dabur India vice-chairman Amit Burman.
Will it always be Ayurveda-related? Are you willing to look beyond that?
Yes, we are willing to look beyond that. We have done lots of investments in the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) part, but we haven’t done much in this (healthcare) part and I think this is where the growth will come.
What about acquisitions in the healthcare space?
We are always actively looking at acquisitions both in healthcare and in FMCG.
What would the focus or the preferred option be at this point in time—to go towards the Middle East or look at US or Europe?
Both are target areas for us. The acquisitions are not very easy and they don’t come on to your plate; you have to do a lot behind the whole thing to try and get some of this, so the efforts are on in both areas.
The last figure we had in terms of acquisitions was at about Rs1,000 crore, but I also understand that the company is looking at smaller-size deals, so maybe a Rs100-300 crore band. Is that something that you continue to work with or have your plans changed and you are looking at a bigger acquisition?
I would put this in two different buckets. One is the bigger acquisition which takes much longer. So what you do is you take the whole world as your oyster and you try and shortlist 8-10 companies which you would like to acquire and you can acquire between the Rs500 crore and Rs1,000 crore kind of money. So we have done that and that is something which you have to go and knock on doors and say let’s start—we are doing a JV (joint venture) and then we will talk about how strategically we acquire the company. The others are acquisitions which are not as much, I would say strategic, but through bankers, etc., so that is to be quickly evaluated and decided if it is a strategic fix.
So will the big acquisition be in the healthcare or the FMCG space?
We are looking at both.