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‘Brought Several Innovations To The Market For Unmet Needs In Healthcare’: Nitin Parekh, Cadila Healthcare

The recognition of one’s achievements is a motivation to scale newer heights. It also helps the organisation understand the calibre of the team and CFO.

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Nitin Parekh CFO, Cadila Healthcare

Given the several challenges faced in the year gone, what were your top priorities as CFO? 
The role has become more demanding and yet enriching. Just after the lockdown, we identified three objectives: continuity of business, control over costs and conservation of cash. I am happy to report that our business operations continued without interruptions with an enhanced focus on digital transformation and cybersecurity.  Setting up of a Liquidity Management Office (LMO) helped reduce net debt in FY 2021 by Rs 3500 crore, with a reduction in other operating costs and better working capital management.

Our initiatives in zero-based budgeting are expected to bear fruit of an annualised sustainable savings of Rs 120-150 crore. Additionally, we strengthened our balance sheet with the divestment of animal health business for Rs 2,875 crore and a QIP/Preferential issue of Rs 1000 crore.

Despite the disruptions, what were the steps you took to ensure that you stayed on a growth trajectory? 
Zydus’ core philosophy is being ‘Dedicated to Life’ in all its dimensions. Our priority during the pandemic was to ensure the safety and well-being of our teams and all other stakeholders. The next goal was to ensure continuity of operations, especially for some critical drugs and treatments used for Covid. I believe such shared goals and a deeper sense of purpose helped everyone drive multiple valuable initiatives like LMO.

What are your expectations for the future of  your sector? 
Innovation is going to be a key differentiator. We were the first Indian company to commercially launch an in-house researched new chemical entity in the name of Lipaglyn in India in 2013. Subsequently, we have brought several innovations to the market to bridge unmet healthcare needs and we believe we have one of the strongest innovation pipelines among Indian pharma players.

Digital transformation is going to have a significant impact on engagement with internal and external stakeholders. We have advanced steadily in the digital adoption cycle, with several initiatives having both external touchpoints (tablets to 6500 MRs, direct connect with doctors and patients) and internal touchpoints (multiple RPAs/Bots in operations, IT HR, Finance). Enterprise Risk Management is going to be an important board agenda – process simplification and automation will be drivers of organizational effectiveness. Regulatory compliance from health ministries across the globe along with cybersecurity would assume prime attention.

Coming to the awards, why did you choose to consider this category?  

The recognition of one’s achievements is a motivation to scale newer heights. It also helps the organisation understand the calibre of the team and CFO.

What do you assume, helped you win? 

I would say the factors were my contribution to organic and inorganic growth of  the company (5X sales, 8X net profit and 16X market cap over the last 12 years), strengthening balance sheet (net debt reduction of more than Rs 6000 crore since March 2020), cost rationalization and interest cost optimization (less than 2 per cent p.a. in FY 2021) and commercial acumen in driving unique solutions to business problems.

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Nitin Parekh cadila healthcare magazine 30 Aug 2021