Ranbaxy inks consent decree with USFDA

Ranbaxy also intends to make a provision of $500 million in connection with the investigation by the US Department of Justice

Drug-maker Ranbaxy Laboratories said it has signed an agreement with the US health regulator to lift a ban on the import of drugs from certain manufacturing plants in India and will pay up to $500 million to settle a case lodged by the Department of Justice.

"Ranbaxy Laboratories announced that it has signed a consent decree with the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA). Ranbaxy has committed to further strengthen procedures and policies to ensure data integrity and to comply with current good manufacturing practices," the company said in a statement.

"Separately, Ranbaxy also announced that it intends to make a provision of $500 million (approximately Rs2,640 crore) in connection with the investigation by the US Department of Justice, which the company believes will be sufficient to resolve all potential civil and criminal liability," it added.

In 2008, the USFDA had banned 30 generic drugs produced by Ranbaxy at its Dewas (Madhya Pradesh) and Paonta Sahib and Batamandi unit in Himachal Pradesh, citing gross violation of approved manufacturing norms. In the same year, the US Department of Justice had moved a motion against the company in a local court alleging forgery of documents and fraudulent practice.

Ranbaxy CEO and managing director Arun Sawhney said: "While we were disappointed by the conduct that led to the FDA's investigation, we are proud of the systematic corrective steps we have taken to upgrade and enhance the quality of our business and manufacturing processes."

The settlement with the USFDA follows the recent launch of a generic version of Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering drug, by the Gurgaon-based company in the American market.

In the late afternoon, Ranbaxy Laboratories was trading at around Rs406.50 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 2.82% up from the previous close.

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Tata Motors to raise truck output

The production rise will take the Tata Motor plant’s annual output to 450,000 vehicles

Tata Motors will increase output of light commercial trucks from its Pantnagar plant in north India by up to 90,000 vehicles per year from early 2012, said Ravi Pisharody, president of the automaker's commercial vehicles unit.

The production rise will take the plant's annual output to around 450,000 vehicles, Pisharody said on Tuesday. Sales of commercial vehicles, a key indicator of the country's economic activity, rose 35% in November, data from an industry body showed.

In the late afternoon, Tata Motors was trading at around Rs176.80 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1.09% up from the previous close.

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Ashok Leyland buys additional 49% stake in Optare

Ashok Leyland had initially acquired 26% stake in Optare in July 2010

Hinduja flagship company Ashok Leyland said it has acquired an additional 49.1% stake in British bus maker Optare Plc for over Rs30 crore, taking its total holding to 75.1%.

"Ashok Leyland... together with its associate companies will increase its stake in the British bus maker Optare plc to 75.1%, thanks to a re-financing agreement announced today," the company said in a statement.

The company had initially acquired 26% stake in Optare in July 2010 as a long-term strategic partnership, it said, adding that the move integrates Optare into Ashok Leyland's global strategy for buses.

"The board of directors of the company at their meeting held today approved the proposal for making additional investment up to GBP 40,04,495 in Optare Plc, UK," Ashok Leyland said. Ashok Leyland's share will reach 75.1% of the company's share capital through placing of shares, raising new equity, it added.
"The re-financing has been achieved by Ashok Leyland facilitating a credit-line to support Optare's re-banking options and providing a substantially improved working capital facility for the business," it said.

Ashok Leyland chairman Dheeraj G Hinduja said: "We are confident that, together, we can surge ahead with Optare, taking advantage of the large opportunities for growth and development we see based on synergy and integration with Ashok Leyland's bus business."

The company considers this move as an important element in realising its vision of being among the top five bus makers globally, the statement said. "This is great news for Optare's customers, employees and suppliers and secures stability and the long-term future of the business. The re-banking represents a defining moment in the company's 3-year turnaround plan which commenced in June 2009," Optare chief executive officer Jim Sumner said.

In the late afternoon, Ashok Leyland was trading at around Rs21 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 3% down from the previous close.

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