DIL Ltd. (earlier known as Duphar-Interfran Ltd.) is a well-respected public listed company. It has built a stellar reputation for itself in the arenas of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, environmental solutions and other segments including Entertainment and Health & Wellness.
But the huge conglomerate of today certainly had quite humble beginnings. The late Dr. Datla Venkata Krishnam Raju or Dr. DVK Raju as he was fondly called; was a legend of extraordinary caliber, a man of vision and a pioneer of the Indian drug industry.
Born in a small village in Andhra Pradesh, Dr. DVK Raju inherited the father’s traits of being a self made man. Armed with a Doctorate in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the London School of Pharmacy coupled with his entrepreneurial acumen and nationalistic outlook, he returned to India in 1948 to start his own ventures.
On May 1st 1951, Dr. Raju incorporated ‘International Franchises Private Limited’ a company specializing in toll manufacturing of pharmaceutical products on behalf of overseas MNC’s.
In 1959, the company set up a manufacturing facility in Thane in its endeavor to develop its own pharmaceutical range of products and began negotiations with potential foreign collaborators. In 1963, the company established financial cum technical collaborations with N.V. Philips-Duphar, Amsterdam and The Crookes Laboratories, UK to form the Joint Venture Crookes-Interfran Limited.
With access to an established product range and extensive R&D facilities, the collaboration transformed Duphar-Interfran Ltd. into a full-fledged pharmaceutical company. The product range included internationally reputed brands “LACTO CALAMINE” Lotion and an indigenously developed analgesic brand “CROCIN” based on Paracetamol IP which remains a household name in India.
To further develop its association with its Research Oriented collaborator Duphar B.V., the company changed its name to Duphar-Interfran Ltd. in 1971 and initiated the manufacture of Vitamin D3 and other Bulk Drugs.
This early success was merely a sign of things to come. Over the years the company went from strength to strength and became a leading player in the manufacture and marketing of Pharmaceuticals, Cosmetics and Bulk Drugs with a presence all over India.
In 1976, Duphar-Interfran Ltd. was listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
In 1985, Dr. DVK Raju stepped down and his son Mr. Datla Vasant Kumar took over as Managing Director of the company.
To further enhance shareholder value, Mr. Datla Vasant Kumar implemented various new initiatives to realign the business and also made new investments which included:
- Establishment of a subsidiary Fermenta Biotech Ltd. (FBL) in 1986 which specializes in the production of nature based enzymes (catalyst) for the production of Beta-Lactum antibiotics through the enzymatic route.
- Sale of “CROCIN” and “LACTO CALAMINE” brands in 1996, to SmithKline Beecham and Piramal Healthcare Ltd. respectively.
- Phasing out of Manufacturing Operations through toll manufacturing arrangements.
- Demerger of its Pharmaceutical division in 2002 in favour of Solvay Pharmaceuticals and realigning the shareholding of the company ensuring that the DVK group became a majority shareholder in Duphar-Interfran Ltd.
- Changed the name of the Company to DIL Ltd.
- Licensed the Bulk Drugs Business to FBL in 2003 thereby bringing the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology businesses under one umbrella
- From 2004 DIL Ltd. forayed into new business segments including:
- Contract research and custom synthesis for which a subsidiary company Research Support International Ltd. (‘RSIL’) was set up. RSIL Ltd. later established a Joint Venture with Evotec A.G. and was subsequently bought over by them;
- Created an entertainment division under the brand White Stripes;
- Established a Joint Venture in the Czech Republic under the name Vasko Gliders to manufacture wheelchairs based on a patented magnetic levitation technology.
Mr. Krishna Datla, took over as Managing Director in 2005 (after the untimely demise of his father Mr. DVK) and ensured continuous growth of the various group businesses by achieving newer and greater goals.
In 2010, the company ventured into the Health and Wellness space by investing in a luxury healthcare brand “ZELA” in South India. In 2012, the company entered into a real estate venture “THANE ONE”.
With over six decades of rich history and heritage, DIL ltd. is now as a holding company that 'thinks young' and 'moves with the times'.