NEW INDIAN EXPRESS
Saturday, Jan08 , 2005

How difficult was it to make it big in America?

By
M LALITHA SUHASINI

Mumbai, January 7: Muhammad Majeed, a 23-year-old B. Pharma student from Kerala left for US with $8 in 1975, and established Sabinsa Corporation in 1988.

"My friends told me coming back to India would be my biggest mistake, but I believed Bangalore had great industrial climate,'' Majeed said at the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin meet in conjunction with the third Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Mumbai.

"Today, I would ask NRIs to wait before starting operations in Bangalore because it's not conducive to growth — there are terrible traffic jams and the prices are escalating,'' said Majeed, who founded Bangalore-based Sami Labs in 1991, with manufacturing units in Kunigal and Nelamangala, an R&D unit in Singasandara and a corporate office in Peenya.

He is even looking at Uttaranchal, and plans to send a research team to Chhattisgarh, "since it has unexplored natural resources,'' he added. He also wants to expand in Hyderabad and Tamil Nadu, besides setting up a herbal farm in Maharashtra.

Sabinsa Corporations, which has its worth in $50 million in sales, started as a trading company in the US for generic drugs like Ibroufen, and later manufactured and sold standardised herbal extracts like Gugulipid used in cholestrol reduction and Boswellia used for treating arthritis.

But how difficult was it to make it big in America which is fixated on Indian herbal treatments? ‘‘The word Ayurveda was a tongue twister in 1991,'' claims the 54-year-old, whose company won its first Indian National Award in Basic Drugs in 1995.