At 54 most people plan their retirement. Not Ashok Boob. He still had one more act left in him.
After working in Mangalam Drugs and Organics, he decided to move out and set up something new. Teaming up with nephew Siddharth Sikchi who had just returned from Canada with a masters in organic chemistry, the duo started what is today known as Clean Science and Technology. They decided to work on cleaner and catalytic technologies that can be used to make speciality chemicals.
Clean Science is part of a new breed of companies that has put India on the specialty chemical map. These businesses have often taken up space ceded by Chinese manufacturers due to environmental concerns and, investors believe, they have a long runway ahead. Companies like Vinati Organics, Atul and SRF
are now counted as the top manufacturers of the products they make, and boast very healthy financial ratios. In time, it is possible that the industry may emerge as a large exporter rivalling pharma and IT.
At Clean Science, the business is worth Rs 22,000 crore ($2.93 billion) and has a market leading share in the categories it operates. It started by making monomethyl ether of hydroquinone (MeHQ) and Guaiacol. MeHQ is used in diapers and sanitary pads while Guiacol finds use as a pharma intermediate in cough syrups. The chemistry for these products takes time to master and, once perfected, it can give the business a formidable edge. Subscribe to Forbes India
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(This story appears in the 24 December, 2021 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)