KKR adds senior advisor in India

The firm has named DS Brar, the former CEO of Indian pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy, as a senior advisor weeks after naming a new director of KKR India.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has appointed DS Brar, the former director of the Reserve Bank of India, as a senior advisor in Mumbai, the firm said in a statement. He will advise on KKR’s current and prospective investments in Asia and will sit on the firm’s Asia portfolio management committee.

The hire follows the appointment of Dhiren Mehta as director of KKR India earlier this month.
Brar spent the majority of his career at Indian pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy Laboratories, where he was named chief executive officer in 1999, before leaving in 2004 to join life sciences and laboratory solutions company GVK Biosciences. He is currently a special advisor to the board of directors of Adamas Pharmaceuticals and a consultant to Teva Pharmaceuticals. Brar was previously a member of the Indian prime minister’s task force on pharmaceuticals and knowledge-based industries.
A spokesperson for KKR was not available for comment at press time.
The firm made a large bet on the pharmaceutical sector in April by agreeing to pay $2.3 billion for Capsugel, Pfizer’s drug delivery systems business. Capsugel generated about $750 million in revenue and manufactured more than 180 billion hard capsules in 2010. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the third quarter.

With Brar's experience in the pharmaceutical sector, KKR looks set to capitalise on India's healthcare and life science industry, which attracted $221 million of private equity and venture capital investment across 22 deals in the first half of 2011, according to a data provider Venture Intelligence. KKR has invested more than $1.1 billion in India since 2006.

In China and India, KKR has been pursuing nearly all growth investments. “The truth is, in Asia today, in these markets, the best companies are not for sale,” head of Joseph Bae told investors at the firm’s first-ever investor day in March. “Buying 100 percent control is just not available. We feel it’s better to partner with the best entrepreneurs whether we’re a 10, 20, 30 or 40 percent shareholder.”