Mumbai: The consumer products division of Piramal Enterprises Ltd has acquired trademark rights for five over-the-counter (OTC) drugs for India from Organon India Pvt. Ltd and MSD BV, Indian subsidiaries of US-based pharmaceutical leader Merck and Co., for a consideration of 92 crore, the company said on Wednesday.

The acquisition includes the brands Naturolax, Lactobacil and Farizym, which Piramal Enterprises intends to continue in the OTC business in the gastro-intestinal (GI) segment, the company said.

The Indian OTC market is approximately 15,000 crore in size and grew 13-14% in 2014.

Last month, Piramal Enterprises had acquired 100% stake in Little’s India, the country’s oldest baby care products brand, for an undisclosed amount. Little’s baby care range includes feeding, grooming, bath, bedtime, clothing, travel and playtime accessories.

Piramal Enterprises’s consumer division owns popular brands such as Lacto Calamine lotion, Caladryl, antacid brand Polycrol and headache drug Saridon.

“The consumer products market has grown rapidly at 24% over the past six years and is now ranked 7th among all OTC companies in India. In line with our strategy, we aim to be a top 3 player in the OTC market by 2020 and the addition of this portfolio of brands will help us move swiftly towards that objective," said Nandini Piramal, executive director, Piramal Enterprises.

“The GI market which addresses the constipation, diarrhoea and appetite stimulant categories is a 2,000 crore market growing at 15-16%. We expect these brands to leverage the strong sales and distribution capability and help us improve our profitability margins as there will be higher fixed cost absorption," said Kedar Rajadnye, chief operating officer, consumer products division, Piramal Enterprises.

The company entered the OTC market with the acquisition of Saridon from Roche Holding AG and Lacto Calamine from Duphar Interfran Ltd in the early 1990s. They were followed up by joint ventures with Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc and Boots Plc to get their OTC range to India in the 1990s itself. It was only in 2007 that Piramal decided to establish its own consumer products division.

Piramal’s entry into pharmaceuticals came around 1988 when the company acquired Nicholas Laboratories Ltd for 1.6 crore at a time when most multinational drug makers were exiting India.

The payback came 22 years later when, in 2010, US-based Abbott Laboratories bought his Indian branded generics business for $3.72 billion in a blockbuster deal that valued the unit at nine times annual sales and 30 times profit.

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