Everstone buys majority stake in Indian drug delivery firm Rubicon

Everstone, a private equity firm specializing in India and Southeast Asia, has finally decided to shell out Rs 220 crore ($33 million) to obtain a 70% stake--a much larger piece of the pie than suggested by previous speculations--in Rubicon Research, an Indian drug delivery company.

The PE firm was only expected to invest around Rs 168 crore ($25 million) and gain, together with other investors, less than a 50% stake in Rubicon. But now, it is purchasing a majority share of 70%. However, it was also reported that Rubicon was looking to raise up to Rs 240 crore in total. So it's currently unclear whether the $25 million is all the CRO is getting, or whether the difference will come from individual sources.

The deal will completely oust Rubicon’s previous investor Kotak PE, which made an investment in the Mumbai-based drug delivery firm back in August 2008 and controlled about 20% stake in Rubicon.

Launched in 2000, Rubicon Research offers outsourcing services--from contract R&D and manufacturing to drug delivery and life-cycle management--to the pharmaceutical industry. According to the company’s website, the CRO has completed more than 250 projects in 10 years, and its clientele includes some big names like Novartis and Pfizer.

Having been focusing on export markets to the U.S. and Europe, Rubicon also operates a facility in compliance with the U.S. FDA and EU regulations at Ambernath near Mumbai, with an annual capacity of compression tabs at 1.2 billion units, among others.

For Singapore-based Everstone, the investment comes from its third private equity fund it closed in September last year, which raised a total commitments of $730 million.

Deep Mishra, a managing director leading the PE firm’s consumer and pharmaceutical investments, will join Rubicon’s board after the dust settles.