Poorvank Purohit, COO, R L Fine Chem
With broad experience including Experience at Board level and Operating Partner level in both APIs and finished products backed by 18 years of B2B experience, Mr. Poorvank is an accomplished, performance-driven pharmaceutical professional.
Before joining R L Fine Chem in 2018, Mr. Poorvank was the Head of Global Sales and Business Development for APIs at Hikal Limited. Alembic, Jubilant, and Ranbaxy are some of the other companies he has worked for. Having a vast range of experience in technical, commercial, and Management roles, Mr. Poorvank is adept in P&L, Value Creation, Executive Leadership, Business Transformation, Corporate Finance, Sales and Business Development, Talent Acquisition, Operations Management, New Market Development, Corporate Strategy, Portfolio Selection, and Project Management.
Having traveled to 45+ countries, Mr. Poorvank has developed strong networks with key decision-makers at both innovator and generic companies across multiple geographies. CEO Insights Magazine (Sep 2021 edition) featured him as one of the ‘Top 10 Chief Operating Officers’ across sectors, with headlines as ‘The Turnaround Specialist’.
THE PATH OF ROSES & THORNS
Mr. Poorvank's concern upon becoming COO of R L Fine Chem in April 2018 was financial metrics-driven, focusing on revenue growth, EBITDA growth, margin expansion, debt reduction, and steady cash flow due to the leveraged buyout transaction. A company backed by a financial investor requires you to move forward with speed and conviction. To drive cultural change while inspiring the existing and old team to deliver results short and long term was one of the major challenges they faced.
B2B businesses rely heavily on market intelligence. Pharma companies rarely make data-driven decisions, especially in the API space, so investing in databases was a challenge at first. To understand the market size, primary markets, competition, etc. they collected all the available databases. Pricing and the right product mix were crucial in making critical decisions on the market side. Further, they focused on building the right team by helping them realize their potential and opportunities. They achieved the desired milestones, and the bar was raised significantly within three years. It was one of the first successes Mr. Poorvank achieved at the organization.
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Established in 1983, Bengaluru-based R L Fine Chem Pvt. Ltd. is one of the fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies in India. They specialize in manufacturing active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for the CNS category, including psychotropic substances. R L Fine Chem exports more than 75% of its APIs worldwide, including eminent innovators and generic companies across the US, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Africa, and CIS markets.
R L Fine Chem specializes in psychotropic substances and has been serving customers with consistent service for the past four decades. Their strength lies in their backward integration of APIs. APIs are usually developed in-house through more than five steps. Their use of water as a solvent whenever possible reduces effluent generation from a technical standpoint. Essentially, the firm adheres to the Green Chemistry principles.
R L Fine Chem operates three manufacturing facilities, two of which are USFDA approved. Additionally, one plant is backed by PMDA (Japan), EDQM (Europe), and COFEPRIS (Mexico) approvals. The company specializes in CNS substances, including psychotropic substances. It caters to a range of therapeutic areas, including anti-histamines, anti-depressants, anti-parkinsons, anti-psychotics, anti-spasmodics, etc. To deal with such categories of products, various levels of compliance, including licenses, permits, are required. Thus, only a few reliable manufacturers are involved in this niche space.
SACK OF INSPIRATION
Born in a family of doctors, Mr. Poorvank has always been inclined to think about patients' healthcare. Following his Chemical Engineering degree, working for the Pharmaceutical Industry was an obvious choice. While academics are certainly required, there are a few qualities one must demonstrate persistently. Making an impact on anything you do is the most important lesson to learn. Focus on value creation, and everything else will follow.
His parents, grandparents, and mentors have always believed in him and have been his constant sources of inspiration. He firmly believes that “One has to play to the highest potential in whatever role one is assigned”.
PRESENT & PROSPECTIVE INDUSTRY SCENARIO
At present, over two-thirds of bulk drugs imported into India come from Chinese raw material suppliers. In China, the environmental dilemma has created a shortage of raw materials. R L Fine Chem saw this as an opportunity to backward integrate key raw materials quickly. As a result, the firm was self-sufficient and, its partners were able to make much larger profits and market shares. Furthermore, RL Fine Chem increased its relationship with customers by offering one basket of products to bring about economies of scale.
Supply chain security is becoming increasingly important in the industry, leading APIs to gain greater significance in the last two years. With nearly 2/3 of the country's APIs and intermediates imported from China, India is heavily dependent on that country. The government's PLI scheme will help strengthen this sector. So far, 55 manufacturers have been announced as benefiting from the scheme. It is clear that private equity is interested in this space, especially with mid-sized companies. Besides growing at 20% per year (CAGR>20%), the company wants to make a big impact in the industry. R L Fine Chem plans to launch several new products in the near future, which will lead to growth in years to come.
Over the years, Mr. Poorvank has been a part of various growth journeys including, Sun Pharma, Jubilant, Alembic, Hikal, and now R L Fine Chem. The ability to make an impact is what excites him in any role. Even at R L Fine Chem, one of the significant achievements has been getting the company's name on a global platform through several initiatives. Owing to its impeccable performance, R L Fine Chem was nominated three times in three consecutive years in 2019, 2020, and 2021 in the API Supplier of the Year category in the Global generics Bulletin awards, top tier awards for the Pharma industry.
Throughout these years, Mr. Poorvank has built trust and credibility with customers, resulting in his utmost satisfaction. As a Chief Operating Officer, he is a great people person, as people are a business's greatest asset. To achieve the impossible, a COO must constantly inspire his team with effective communication to show direction for the organization and align stakeholders at all times. Having a reputation as a turnaround specialist makes sense. Poorvank has reshaped businesses without shortcuts in a short amount of time and created long-term stability by taking calculated risks.
PIECE OF ADVICE
Innovation comes in two forms, he says often:
“Either you do different things, or you do the same things differently”
Regardless of the role you are assigned (big or small), you can always have a significant impact. Think like an entrepreneur, and you'll always get your dues whether you work for a company or start your own business. Be so good at what you do that people cannot ignore you. The key to realizing one's full potential in life is to continue to learn and grow. While he states that ‘This is the little piece of advice I can share with whatever little I know as there is still a long way to go’, we feel his words are incredibly inspiring, guiding, and motivating for all of us and will surely help us set afoot rightly.