Home / Companies / Religare group emerges out of Ranbaxy shadow

Mumbai: Having sold their stake in Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd to Japan’s Daaichi Sankyo Co. Ltd, the promoters of India’s largest drug company by sales are planning significant investments in their privately owned companies, which are into diagnostics, retail and aviation, and will rebrand them to Religare from Ranbaxy, say people familiar with the Singh family’s decision making.

The promoters, led by Malvinder Mohan Singh, chief executive and managing director of Ranbaxy Laboratories, have already renamed three private firms: Fortis Healthworld Ltd, SRL Ranbaxy Ltd and Ran Air Services Ltd, which are engaged in drug retail, diagnostics and air travel respectively, under the Religare brand. As part of an aggressive growth plan, the Singh brothers will also look at a future initial public offering (IPO).

“The group wanted to take all these entities to the next level of growth under the Religare brand, and they all would see substantial investments if the expansion demands so," said one Religare executive who didn’t want to be identified.

SRL Ranbaxy, which has been now renamed as Religare Super Labs Ltd, has been planning to tap the capital market for some time now, though an official announcement is yet to be made. Industry analysts, however, say the company may not command strong valuation as its operational scale and net asset base are not that significant. Mint had reported in August that SRL Ranbaxy was looking at integrating itself with Religare Wellness to increase the valuation ahead of a planned IPO.

Ran Air, renamed as Religare Voyages Ltd, is currently a non-scheduled airline operator with its own fleet of jets, helicopters and turboprops. Non-scheduled operators are the carriers that cannot publish time tables of flights and operate mostly as a charter services. “Ran Air has significant presence in the non-scheduled operations in India by catering to various corporate travel. It is also considering to start a fractional ownership company," said one person familiar with the development.

“Ran Air has plans to acquire more private jets to its fleet. Following the augmentation of fleet, it will consider about fractional ownership."

Earlier this year, Club One Air, until then India’s sole fractional ownership firm, saw new competition emerge from the Tata group, which announced its entry into the emerging business jets market through a stake in Singapore-based BJets Pte Ltd.

Fractional aircraft ownership allows multiple people to “own" a single aircraft and share flying time without having to deal with maintenance and related issues. In addition to owning a piece of the aircraft, customers can also buy flying time, much like international calling cards. A Religare spokesman, however, said the company hasn’t seriously considered the fractional ownership business in the proposed expansion plans for the aviation company.

Other companies in the Religare fold currently include Religare Enterprises Ltd, the financial services company, and Religare Technova Ltd, an information technology company.

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