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Nirma acquires Core Healthcare's IV fluids business


Almost eight years after it landed in debt, thanks to its over ambitious expansion plans, Ahmedabad based Core Healthcare Ltd. (CHL) has finally found a buyer for its intravenous (IV) fluids and medical devices business in Nirma Limited. For the FMCG company this would mean a foray into unchartered territories of pharmaceuticals. The deal for the sale of CHL's assets and liabilities was wrapped up on Thursday evening with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) being signed between Nirma and the Asset Reconstruction Company (India) Ltd (ARCIL), CHL founder Sushil Handa said on Thursday. CHL's stock, which had been on the rise in the past few days, touched a 52 week high and closed at Rs 16 on both BSE and NSE.


ARCIL a securitisation and reconstruction company acquired 60 per cent (Rs 380 crore) of CHL's total borrowing of Rs 650 crore (principal amount) about a year and a half ago. The sale is, however, subject to approval of 20 odd other lenders and the Gujarat High Court, and may take about six months to materialise. CHL's creditors included Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Deutsche Bank, which together have lent around Rs 270 crore to CHL.


While Handa and ARCIl officials were tight-lipped on the size of the deal and Nirma officials were unavailable for comment, a release issued by Nirma stated: "The company has negotiated the acquisition with ARCIL, which awarded the undertakings of CHL at Sachana. in Ahmedabad district to Nirma, the highest bidder following its offer dated November 18, 2004."


According to Nirma, it will carry out a due diligence of CHL's undertakings over the next one month and has fixed November 30, 2004, as the appointed date for the de-merger of the undertaking from CHL and in due course would approach the High Court of Gujarat with a suitable scheme. ARCIL president and CEO S Khasnobis said that his organisation would now approach the other lenders for which a joint meeting of all lenders would be held in a couple of weeks. "In the next three months the financial aspects of the sale would be worked out, before Nirma approaches GHC for clearance of the scheme of settlement," Khasnobis said.


The breakthrough comes almost one and a half years after ARCIL had been hunting for buyers for the pharmaceutical players, which reached dizzying heights in 1995 putting promoter Sushil Handa in the top league of Indian entrepreneurs during the early nineties.


Nirma will  acquire CHL's still running IV fluids business (comprising small and large volume parenterals), medical devices (disposable syringes and needles, IV sets and bags), as well as speciality injectibles  (anaesthetics, plasma expanders, transplant medicines). The FMCG player will also acquired CHL's 1,300 employees.


ARCIL will also put CHL's tablets manufacturing facility at Rajpur near Ahmedabad on sale shortly. "While we have identified an Indian buyer for the plant, IDBI will look for a buyer for the 20 MW naphtha-based captive power plant as it has bee leased to them." Khasnobis explained.


CHL, which had borrowed around Rs 710 crore saw its total dues go up to over Rs 1200 crore over a period of time. It, however, settled Rs 110 crore worth of liabilities, including Rs 65 crore of borrowing with foreign lenders - American Express, Bank of America, Grindlays and Standard Chartered Bank.


CHL was founded by the Handa brothers - Sushil and Sunil in 1985 as an IV fluids company with a capacity of 6 million units per year and investment of Rs. 4.5 crore. In 1988, it tapped the capital markets with an IPO of Rs 36 lakh and a second offering of Rs 19 crore partly convertible debentures in 1992 to fund expansion plans. It also issued global depository receipts of around Rs 80 crore in 1994 at the Luxemburg Stock Exchange.


(Ref : Times of India Dated December 17, 2004.)


India's first PET/CT system launched at Tata Memorial Hospital


The first PET/CT system in India - Discovery ST has been installed at the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Mumbai by GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company.


PET/CT scans allow physicians to more accurately pin-point where disease is located, resulting in better therapy section. This Discovery ST system is capable of 2D, 3D and 4D imaging with a large bore for all patient studies or sizes and provides physicians with more sensitivity, speed, resolution, and diagnostic confidence when treating cancer patients.


This PET/CT system integrates a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner with a 16-slice Computed Tomography (CT) scanner all in a single exam, non-invasively. PET creates images of metabolic activity in the body/ CT creates images of the body's anatomy.


"For more than 3 years now, GE Discovery PET/CT systems and their advanced applications have given physicians more diagnostic confidence, enabling them to accurately target disease and appropriately prescribe therapy particularly in the worldwide fight against cancer," Stephan R. Bloze, president & CEO of GE Healthcare Technologies, International said in a release adding, "With a disease like cancer, example, clinicians worldwide tell us that PET/CT scans show the size and location of a tumor, which enables them to prescribe the most effectively treatment path for the patient."


The Discovery PET/CT will help in providing a better understanding of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and brain dysfunction, allowing a more personalized course of treatment with the ability to monitor response to therapy.


"GE Discovery ST will help doctors more precisely visualize and diagnose diseases earlier than ever before and is the first-of-its-king to be installed in India said V Raja, president and CEO GE Healthcare Technologies, India and MD & CEO, Wipro GE Healthcare. "In addition to its diagnostic precision the GE Discovery ST can significantly reduce the time, expense and anxiety of multiple procedures  for the patients that may take place over the course of days, or even weeks," he added.


Medical research published in the new England Journal of Medicine indicates integrated PET/CT exams provide extra information beyond that obtained with visually correlated PET and CT in 41 of cases because of its proven pinpoints accuracy in locating disease, the release said here.


"The Discovery ST second generation design will allow a platform for all oncology, cardiac and neurology applications, on all patient sizes, with existing isotopes today and the potential for non-pure isotopes in the future," said NR Balamurugan, Business Manager of Functional Imaging at GE Healthcare.


"We were the first company to bring revolutionary PET technology India and now are extremely proud to be the first healthcare company to bring the breakthrough PET/CT technology to India," claims Raja.


GE Healthcare is a $14 billion unit of General Electric Company that is head quarter in the United Kingdom.


(Ref : CHRONICLE PHARMABIZ Dated December 16, 2004)



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