British Biologicals, observing its silver jubilee celebration this year, has recently introduced a reproductive support dietary supplement ‘FertiPro’, a combination of clinically researched Myo–Inositol, Folic Acid and Vitamin D3 to promote a healthy reproductive cycle. The company is optimistic about FertiPro that will bring hope to several women, who suffer from infertility due to Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). A company of repute in the Indian nutraceuticals industry with Rs 270 crore having work force of 1,200 staff is fully committed to unlocking the potential of nature and improve the quality of life by establishing the highest values of corporate and medical ethics. British Biologicals is dedicated to help people lead healthier and more productive lives by offering safe, affordable and appealing nutrition supplements that contribute to good health and the well being of humanity. Governments of Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra have appointed the company as their nutrition consultant and advisor. In an interaction with NuFFooDS Spectrum, V S Reddy, managing director, British Biologicals, shared his views about the company’s growth path for the coming years and also about the competition in the market. Excerpts of the interview.
How are you looking at the growth of the company in the coming years?
In the next 5-10 years, nutraceuticals will change the world as people start adopting a healthy lifestyle by following the saying “Prevention is better than cure”. At the same time antibiotics and life saving drugs will take a backseat in another 10-15 years. Then it will be time for lifestyle and nutritional products. In the USA already insurance companies have been requesting the government to reimburse nutritional products for treatment.
We have already covered all the faculties of medicine by introducing 40 products after research and development for over two decades. We are proud to say that we are the only people in the country manufacturing disease specific nutritional products and we are leaders in medical nutritional products.
Besides commercial growth we have taken up many initiatives under our corporate social responsibility. We recently launched ketokid, a medically supervised diet with high-fat, adequate protein, low carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat uncontrolled epilepsy in children. This is not a profitable product. We are offering this product under corporate social responsibility initiative. This has brought laurels to us from medical fraternity as this diet helps control seizures and allows many children to be seizure-free and drug-free. Studies have shown that with the ketogenic diet, 50-70% of patients with intractable epilepsy have >50% reduction in seizures and 15-20% become seizure free. In some disorders, this is the only treatment available. For example in GLUT1 deficiency. We are not looking at commercial margins for these products.
What was the growth rate the company has witnessed in last 5 years? What is your target for 2018?
We are already number one nutraceuticals company in India. We were pioneers then and now leaders in the industry. We would continue to see good growth for the company in coming years. For the last five years, we have been registering a growth of 28-35% by bringing in new concepts, technology and products.
We will increase our revenue by over 100% in the next five years as our next target will be Rs 600 crore by 2018 from the current sales revenue of Rs 270 crore.
What is your export contribution in total sales revenue?
Today we are exporting our products to 21 countries including USA. We are now keen on exploring opportunities as our percentage of exports stands at about 5% of total sales revenue. Recently, we have opened an office in the UK and considering opening offices or tie-ups in other countries as well. Besides, discussions are on with big names in the industry such as Nestle, Danone for joint ventures and partnerships.
How much of your sales will be pumped into R&D?
We have been investing about 10-12% of sales in R&D. We are the only company having PhDs in food technology, microbiology, dietetics, nutrition, biotechnology and food science. Currently there are 28 scientists working in the labs. Each year, government of India sends 4-5 candidates to our labs for their PhDs. The government gives them a stipend of Rs 8,000 a month while we offer Rs 13,000 a month to those who come for training at our lab.
British Biologicals is a flagship company under which we have a Critical Care division, Wellness and Lifesciences division, which we opened three months ago. Through this division we have launched organic baby foods.
How has the concept of organic baby foods evolved?
We have blended the traditional knowledge by analysing the ingredients our mother and grandmother used as baby foods while upbringing us with latest technology. We have three products in this space.
Since the company has been spending good amount of its sales on R&D what kind of profit margins are you looking at?
Unlike pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals is a new and upcoming industry. Besides, I would like to emphasise that we do not deal with any government agencies where there is lot of undercuts. All our sales are ethical. Our products are available in the open market through doctor’s prescription and there is no substitute. We are sure of our margins and revenue growth, as we see improvement in healthcare awareness in the country, affordability no more an issue. We are looking at a net profit of 7-8% of the gross sales.
What are your views on competition in the market?
The basic philosophy at our company is to get the best and high quality products at affordable prices. For all our products there is science behind it. We want to bring many research based products into the market. Even companies who try doing reverse engineering can’t produce the products that we can develop and manufacture at our state-of-the-art facility.
We are already a leader in this space. We lead by setting trends in the market by launching new products. We have skilled and talented work force in R&D, better technology and better manufacturing facility. And we think faster than others. We will be launching another 20 products in next two years. Our products have become benchmark and set standards. Every product of ours has a story, an exclusivity and target audience.
Competition is everywhere. We are not afraid of competition. When we entered the market, Nestle, Pfizer were already leaders in the market. Exclusivity, transparency, honesty and being different from others and our reputation helped us to stand out in the market over other companies.
I am confident about what I am doing. I think faster than others and honest and transparent in doing business. There is no question of telling lies. We don’t send complements to doctors and send them abroad. We ask them to prescribe our products based on merits and not for commission. It is a long journey of 25 years. Any other company might have made a lot of money during this period. Till now I have not taken defeat in my life.
What are your views on Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) 2006?
This was a long pending demand from the industry. Establishment of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is apt and helpful for all companies. There are many me-too products creating confusion in the market and among consumers. Once FSSAI implements the Act all small players will be out of the market and patients will benefit. We got licences for all 40 products in just three months. We have submitted all necessary dossiers to the regulatory authorities who have no issues in giving licences to us, when many companies are still struggling to get their licences.