Actis and Sequoia exit Indian Paras

The private equity firms have exited their four-year investment in a deal worth about $724m.

Global private equity firm Actis has agreed to sell its 63 percent stake in Paras Pharmaceuticals to UK-listed Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB).

RB will pay approximately INR32.6 billion (€544.3 million; $723.9 million) to acquire Paras from Actis, Sequoia Capital and the remaining shareholders including the company’s founder Girish Patel, according to a statement by Actis.

In October, India’s Economic Times suggested that Morgan Stanley, hired by Actis and Sequoia, had secured bids from drug maker Pfizer, UK-based GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), French company Sanofi Aventis, and Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo and Taisho Pharma for the assets.

According to the report, Morgan Stanley’s decision to approach international bidders was due to the belief that the asking price for Paras was beyond the reach of local companies.

Actis invested $42 million in Paras in October 2006, while Sequoia followed a month later with $12 million. Neither firm was available for comment at the time of going to press and it is not clear whether they followed up their initial investments with further rounds of financing.

Paras Pharmaceuticals counts several household names among its brands including pain relief ointment Moov, cold and cough medicine D’Cold, and prickly heat powder Dermicool. The company currently sells its products in parts of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Actis currently has $4.7 billion of funds under management and more than 100 investment professionals across nine offices worldwide.