Here’s a stock that has seen its price go up 35% every year for the 20 years it has been listed, starting 1994. From a shareholder’s perspective, these returns are astronomical: an investment of Rs 10,000 then has become Rs 50 lakh today and this doesn’t include dividends. The founder owns 63.65% of the company and his stake in the company is valued at over Rs 1.3 lakh crore. The company is Sun Pharmaceutical and its founder is Dilip Shanghvi.
Sun Pharma is an exceptional company in many ways. It is a major player both in the domestic and international markets. It has grown its business organically as well as through acquisitions (it has made 16 acquisitions since 1997). In the nineties, the global market opened up to the Indian pharma sector, just like it did for software services. Indian companies specialised in process research and were able to introduce cheap, generic versions of drugs which complied with local regulations in global markets.
Not restricted to the domestic market where growth rates couldn’t leapfrog, pharma companies were able to post double-digit growth in sales and profits, and create huge shareholder value. Promoters of Cipla, Ranbaxy and Dr Reddy’s all entered billionaire lists. And within the pharma industry, Sun Pharma raced ahead of Dr Reddy’s, Cipla and Ranbaxy (which Sun has acquired), in all parameters: sales, profit and market capitalisation.
Dilip Shanghvi is an outsider in the Indian corporate firmament – he wasn’t born into wealth but is self-made. In 2002, Shanghvi entered the top 10 Richest Indian list in the BS Billionaire Club, and joined the ranks of other self-made billionaires such as N R Narayana Murthy, Sunil Mittal, Shiv Nadar and Subhash Chandra.
For a company that had rather modest beginnings in 1983, Sun Pharma has come a long way. It enjoys a net profit margin of 35%, while Dr Reddy’s and Lupin are both at 16%. Sun Pharma’s market capitalisation is more than that of Lupin, Cipla and Dr Reddy’s combined (the second, third and fourth most valuable pharma companies respectively).
COMPANIES WITH 30% PLUS RETURNS A YEAR FROM 1995 TO 2014
Infosys, Sun Pharma, Motherson Sumi, Eicher Motors
COMPANIES WITH 20% PLUS RETURNS A YEAR FROM 1995 TO 2014
(Niraj Bhatt is web editor at Business Standard)