Business Line
Madhumathi DS, New Delhi
Monday, June
19, 2006

Sami Labs all set for Malaysian foray

In talks with Federal Land Development Authority for joint venture
New venture
Sami has identified 12 species and conducted trials on 50 acres of land near Saba.
It will take up cultivation on at least 2,000 acres of FELDA's lands.
Arrangement will be later extended to include R&D centre in Malaysia.

Mr. M. Majeed

Herbal extracts and nutraceuticals export major Sami Labs Ltd is on the verge of forming its first joint venture through a Malaysian foray to cultivate and produce new herbal ingredients. It is in talks with FELDA (Malaysia's Federal Land Development Authority) for a 50:50 tie-up, according to its Managing Director, Dr Muhammed Majeed.

Malaysia, he said, has several unique and untapped medicinal plants with a large potential as sources of nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals (herbs with nutritive and cosmetic value).

Sami has identified 12 species and conducted trials on 50 acres of land near Saba. It would take up cultivation on at least 2,000 acres of the vast tracts of land available with FELDA.

The two are working out the contours of a new $5-m (Rs 11-crore) entity that would also manufacture standardised extracts of these plants.

Sami would retain the marketing and distribution of the ingredients through its own global arm Sabinsa, which is already present in that country, Dr Majeed told Business Line. The arrangement may subsequently be extended to include an R&D centre in Malaysia.

The collaboration has been discussed also during the visit of the high-level Malaysian delegation to Bangalore this month. The final form will take shape when a Sami team visits Malaysia in a month, Dr Majeed said, adding that this would be the beginning of an "era of alliances" for the Rs 480-crore group.

A couple of years ago, Sami hit huge success with ForsLean, a patented nutraceutical and anti-obesity ingredient extracted from (ITAL) Coleus Forskohlii(ITAL). Dr Majeed said coleus would be taken up in Malaysia too. Domestically, Sami cultivates the herb mainly in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

ForsLean alone, he said, had turned out to be a $25-million goldmine and the company's single largest revenue yielding nutraceutical ingredient. It now held out other therapeutic promises.

Sami has a portfolio of 200-odd nutraceutical ingredients and products, of which a handful are available in the country. Some of Sami's clients are Avon, Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, Godrej and HLL.