Almost everybody associates Goa with sand, sunshine and feni, but it was also where Govind Ramnath Kare founded Indo Continental Trading Company in 1945. Its main business activity was importing pharmaceutical formulations from Europe and distributing them in western India. Even in those primitive years, Kare was soon to trip over a regulatory hurdle. After India’s independence, the government banned the import of formulations in order to encourage local manufacturers. Kare was made of sterner stuff and instead of backing down decided to up the stakes. He renamed his company Indoco Remedies and turned into a manufacturer. Since then, it has been smooth sailing for Indoco Remedies and after 67 years, the company today has a market cap of ₹2,800 crore.
While the pace of growth can be argued over, the trajectory has continued to be north and Kare’s granddaughter Aditi Kare Panandikar wants to keep it that way. She would only be forwarding the legacy of her father Suresh Kare who grew the company from a turnover of ₹2.5 lakh to ₹600 crore over his 50 year-tenure. Panandikar, who joined the company in 1997, took over as managing director in 2012 from her father. “We have risen from being a ₹270 crore company in FY06 to ₹850 crore now and I plan to take it to ₹1,000 crore by FY16,” she says.
To power this growth, Indoco is moving from safer domestic shores to other emerging markets as well as countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK. That is why the early months of 2014 were a very tense period for Panandikar. Many top notch Indian pharmaceutical companies were getting pulled up by the US FDA for procedural violations and Indoco, too, had a couple of vital FDA approvals pending. Panandikar’s nervousness wasn’t without reason. Indoco wants to increase exports from 35% of revenue to 45% and increased access to the US market would not only help in achieving that target but also result in increased margins. Currently, Europe accounts for the bulk of exports with the US onl