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Biocoan's chairperson, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, can really afford to take the break she says she desperately needs after the company made its debut on the bourses today.

At the end of the day investors propelled the value of the company to a billion dollar plus. And Ms Mazumdar Shaw joined the select league of the likes of Infosys founder Narayana Murty and Nandan Nilekani, with a personal net worth of a whopping Rs 1,887 crore ($428m).

"I really need the break," Ms Mazumdar Shaw said having spent months meticulously planning the road show for the IPO . "After that it will be back to business," said the country's newly crowned richest woman, who owns 39% of Biocon.

The story of riches doesn't stop just with her individual net worth of almost half a billion dollars. If her stake were to be combined with that of her close family and Glentec International (which is majority owned by her husband John Shaw), then the promoters' stake is worth Rs 3,000 crore ($682m) as they own 62% of Biocon.

In becoming India's richest woman, she has raced ahead of the Infosys wives. Sudha Gopalakrishnan, wife of Infosys COO and deputy MD, Kris Gopalakrishnan, net worth works out to about Rs 1,000 plus crore while that of Sudha Murty, wife of Infosys chairman, NR Narayana Murthy, is worth about Rs 850 crore. The latter's wealth as of today's price is about Rs 1,500 crore while that of Nandan Nilekani and family, Rs 1,600 crore.

But she has some catching up to do, if she wants to get on the same net worth footing as her other good friend in town, Wipro chairma Azim Premji, who is worth $6.2bn.

A lady who set out to be brew master - like her father who had worked for UB as the chief brew master - discovered that the Indian brewing industry wasn't yet ready for a female in that position.

A lucky break considering that it set her down the path of entrepreneurship making enzymes for the brewing industry. Today, Biocon is on track to becoming a full-fledged bio-pharmaceutical company with revenues of about Rs 500 crore last fiscal.

Ms Mazumdar Shaw, who turned 50 last year, underplayed her new-found status today, saying, "We are pleased and excited at our company's performance on the bourses today. The shares listed at a satisfying level and this may not have come at a better time than when we are celebrating 25 years in the biotech business."

She also paid tribute to her team, saying "this was achieved mainly with a strong team effort and we pledge to deliver good value through integrity."
Biocon's story which began with Rs 1 lakh worth of traveller's cheques being encashed for capital 25 years ago, has been one of toil and obscurity for the better of 25 years. With the biotech story getting a play only in the last decade or so, it stepped into the limelight only recently.

Looking back, she often wonders how her senior management team - all highly qualified professionals - ever came to work for her for a pittance in the initial years. Obviously they saw the potential, and today their faith seems to have been rewarded with most of the senior management who have handsome stock options, making it big.

Ms Mazumdar Shaw who is very active in Bangalore's social circles - her parties are legendary - also takes a keen interest in civic matters. She also patronises a lot of local artistes having one of the best art collections in town, displayed beautifully in her Spanish villa styled new house - called Glenmore - opposite her office/factory on the outskirts of the city close to the Infosys campus.

Ms Mazumdar Shaw's wealth rests on the handsome listing made by the Biocon scrip today. On the NSE, the share touched an intra-day high of Rs 507 after opening in at Rs 425. It closed at Rs 487.30, a whopping gain of 54.7% against the offer price of Rs 315. Over 4.59m shares changed hands.

On the BSE, Biocon rose to an intra-day high of Rs 507 against the opening of Rs 435, while the low was Rs 400. It closed at Rs 484.35, while a record 3.26m shares changed hands.

Having spent the last few months in endless travel through continents peddling the IPO - at the risk of aggravating her spondilitis - she has set her sights on a good holiday before returning to her desk and taking on the responsibilities that come with being a very wealthy head of a keenly watched listed company in a very hostile space like bio-pharmaceuticals.

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