Judges’ Choice Winner: Hetero Labs Limited

Published: Apr 2021


Photo of Ganesh Karuppannan, Hetero Labs Limited.

Ganesh Karuppannan

Chief Financial Officer
Hetero Labs Limited

Hetero Labs Limited is one of India’s generic pharmaceutical companies and the world’s largest producer of anti-retroviral drugs. Hetero’s business includes APIs, generics, biosimilars, custom pharmaceutical services and branded generics. Hetero has 36 manufacturing facilities located worldwide.

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An immediate, effective and direct response to COVID-19 pandemic in India

The challenge

As the global COVID-19 pandemic worsened, Hetero Labs was confronted with the twin challenges of uncertainties caused by supply chain disruptions and the urgent need for additional liquidity to cater for the growing demand of Remdesivir, a recommended drug to treat COVID-19.

It was at this critical juncture that Standard Chartered came forward with its COVID-19 financing proposition which helped Hetero Labs’ timely execution of its response strategy.

There was an urgent need to manufacture Remdesivir, (an ARV drug extensively used across the world for treating various symptoms of COVID-19 pandemic) in large scale to meet the anticipated and growing demand. Additional liquidity/working capital was needed to ramp up production of Remdesivir.

The solution

Working capital was sanctioned by the bank as part of its US$1bn COVID-19 financing initiative, with the objective of providing additional working capital for bulk raw material purchase and production capacity increase to facilitate large scale manufacture of Remdesivir.

Best practice and innovation

Hetero Labs, in partnership with its bank, demonstrated a commitment to be at the forefront of the COVID-19 response, by preparing for increased manufacturing and sale of Remdesivir, and providing timely working capital support to the company, respectively.

Key benefits

In view of the scale and alarming rate of growth of the pandemic, the timely financing solution helped Hetero Labs to ensure adequate availability and supply of Remdesivir, which has been recommended for treatment to patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms.

The COVID-19 loan, offered at highly preferential rates, will lead to an estimated saving of US$400,000 in interest cost. The loan also enables the company to procure critical inputs and raw materials for the manufacture of COVID-19 treatment-related drugs worth around US$30m on an annualised basis.

“In unprecedented times such as these, it’s imperative for organisations to think beyond conventional business models and metrics and be guided by motivations that seek larger benefits to the societies, communities and world at large. This also called for a proactive approach to anticipate the likely challenges faced by stakeholders (customers), conceptualise and deliver the required solution and all of these in a time-bound manner. Hetero Labs is happy that Standard Chartered could assist clients through the COVID-19 financing initiative. This timely support has played a critical role in helping our company to execute a successful response strategy, that in turn is helping in the treatment of a multitude of COVID-19 affected patients across the country. In summary the above solution demonstrates the significant and positive impact such financing solutions make to the larger world we all live in,” says Ganesh Karuppannan, Chief Financial Officer.

The deployment of the bank’s COVID-19 US$1bn facility was launched to support companies who are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. As soon as the facility was announced the bank organised itself in record time to deploy the finance that was needed to support their clients.

Whilst Hetero Labs was an early mover to access the bank’s financing initiative, US$388m worth of transactions have now been executed in response to the global pandemic with funds being used for ventilators, face masks, PPE, and medical supplies and facilities. Over US$1.4bn of applications have been reviewed as the world recognises, as Hetero Labs did, that the need for finance to respond to COVID-19 is far from over. Whilst the company’s solution was very specific, the eligibility criteria used to draw on the facility has now been expanded to include other impactful areas such as healthcare, sanitation, and other food security.

As one of the first companies to deploy finance from the COVID-19 facility, our judges felt Hetero Labs a most worthy winner of Judges’ Choice in this most challenging of years.

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Portrait of Ricky Kaura, Head of Transaction Banking East & AME, Standard Chartered

Ricky Kaura

Head of Transaction Banking East & AME
Standard Chartered

As the global COVID-19 pandemic increasingly worsened in early 2020, Hetero Labs, a leading pharmaceutical company, was confronted with twin challenges of uncertainties caused by supply chain disruptions and an urgent need for additional liquidity to cater to growing demand of a critical drug to treat COVID-19 symptoms.

At this critical juncture, the bank was able to structure in a timely manner, a working capital financing solution which helped our client to procure the necessary large volumes of raw materials to help sustain peak production levels.

Importantly this financing was part of the broader Standard Chartered US$1bn COVID-19 financing initiative which was launched to support companies who are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.

We’re delighted that we were able to proactively collaborate with our client to understand their challenge and their time critical needs. As a result, we collectively delivered an optimal solution in a short span of time. We’re proud to assist clients such as Hetero Labs through our COVID-19 financing initiatives and delighted to see their efforts rewarded with this well-deserved recognition.

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