Ajay Piramal’sSuccess Story- Inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs facing troubles in their career journey
Mr. Ajay Piramal is a well-known Indian businessperson and the chairman of Piramal Enterprises Limited. After facing countless troubles in life, he proved himself as a phoenix. His story is of a remarkable business transformation, from a textile magnet to becoming India’s 4th largest pharmaceutical manufactures.
Currently, he is the chairman of Rs 400 billion groups, comprising Nicholas Piramal, the fourth-largest pharmaceutical company in India, Morarajee Weaving and Spinning, and Gujarat Glass. Under his leadership, Piramal Group has grown on to become a diversified multinational corporation, which has a presence across 100 countries across different sectors such as pharmaceuticals, packaging, financial services, and real estate.
Ajay is on the Board of Directors of several companies also, which include – Piramal Enterprises Ltd, Piramal Life Sciences Limited, Piramal Glass Ltd., Allergan India Limited, Indiareit Fund Advisors Pvt. Ltd., IndiaVenture Advisors Pvt. Ltd., Piramal Sunteck Realty Pvt. Ltd., etc.
Ajay has done Masters in Management Studies from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies and has completed his Advanced Management Programme from Harvard Business School (USA).
The initial phase of life
Ajay had a well-settled family background. Despite this, he had to go through several difficulties, to become what we see today. In the year 1977, when Ajay was 22 years of age, he had completed his MBA from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute and had just joined his father’s textile manufacturing unit. Things were moving fairly well, but this was still a very nascent and learning stage for Ajay. The inevitable happened in 1979 when his father died in New York.
Things worsened when his elder brother too, decided to part ways from the family business in 1980. Only 16 days after the separation, all the textile mills in the city were forced to closed down due to a strike led by Datta Samant, which went on for over a year. This was followed by another huge tragedy within their family, when his brother, his only support died of cancer in 1982. His brother left behind his young widow and their three children. After all these happenings, he decided to take control of the business and made sure to turn around everything for good. It was in 1984, at the age of 29 – he became the Chairman.
Venturing into the Pharma Business
Soon after he took control of the business, he realized that he needed to move out of the textile business. Indeed, the textile industry had a good future, but because of the ways, the policies were fashioned, and because it was also an industry where commodity and cost were the major players, large companies just could not be successful.
Since he did not have the pertinent knowledge of all the fields, he knew that the only way to grow was to acquire or merge companies in suitable sectors. He started with the acquisition of Gujarat Glass Limited. It is used to manufacture glass packaging for pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. Later, he also understood that the next boom that will happen in India would be in the pharmaceutical industry. Therefore, he went for the acquisition of Nicholas Laboratories.
After acquiring Nicholas Laboratories, under this banner itself, the company went on a spree of acquisitions such as the Indian subsidiaries of Roche, Boehringer Mannheim, Rhone Poulenc, ICI, and Hoechst Research Centre. This eventually grew the company to become listed amongst the top five pharmaceutical companies in India. Nicholas had reached the highest valuation in the whole pharmaceutical industry by the year 2010.
Expansion of Piramal group
Post staying under the radar for a while, the company made a full-throttle comeback with a range of JV’s, Acquisitions, or for that matter a range of new development. This was done to strengthen and widen their presence even more, over the next decade. Some of these included –
The acquisition of Ceylon Company Ltdin Sri Lanka in 1999
The acquisition of Pfizer’s UK manufacturing facility called Morpethin 2006
A deal with Merck for development and discovery of new drugs in 2007
The second drug development deal with Eli Lilly in 2008
Formation of ‘Piramal foundation’, a philanthropic arm of the group
A name change from Nicholas Laboratories to Piramal Healthcare Limited
Establishingits real estate entity, Piramal Realty
Purchase of a 5.5% stake in Vodafone India for ₹30.07 billion ($618 million). This took their total stake in the mobile telecom firm to 11%, which was eventually sold to Prime Metals, an indirect subsidiary of Vodafone Group in 2014.
In 2012, acquisition of ‘Abacus International’. It is a UK-based global market access solutions company for many of the world’s leading healthcare companies.
Purchasing the brand ‘Caladryl’ (a skincare product) in India by Piramal Enterprises. Caladryl is an anti-pruritic solution for minor skin irritations and itching.
However, the biggest announcement had taken place in 2010 when Piramal Healthcare sold its domestic formulations business to US drug maker Abbott for a whopping ₹17,000 crore.
The deal was considered to be the most expensive in the industry. Ajay decided to sell this business division that was making revenues worth more than ₹1,800 crores was sole because of the valuations he got.
Mr. Ajay Piramal has encountered myriad phases of life. He has come out of such miserable circumstances, which is not easy for anyone. Today, when People find him in Forbes rankings amongst the richest Indians they look up at him as an idol. Despite so many hardships, he has faced and how he has come up, he is truly a motivational personality for many.