Uganda: Abraaj Acquire Stake in Vine Pharmaceuticals
Wednesday, 06 February 2013
Emerging-markets PE investor Abraaj have acquired a stake in Uganda’s largest pharmaceuticals retail chain, Vine Pharmaceuticals, through their Africa Health Fund. Vine Pharmaceuticals, funded in 1999, currently has 21 stores, 98 employees and a pharmaceutical import business. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

The overall healthcare sector is attracting growing investor interest: the expansion of Africa’s nascent middle class means that more people will have at least some disposable income that they can set aside for healthcare services and products.

According to Abraaj partner Shakir Merali
, the fund may pursue complementary investments to support a possible regional expansion of the retail chain: ‘There is a big opportunity within Uganda, but also in some of the adjacent countries that share similar characteristics. If we’re able to execute effectively, I would not be surprised for us to have as a component of regional expansion. (…) I would not consider doing any investment in this space unless I saw a robust potential for us to set it as a platform opportunity. That’s a critical consideration, because getting to scale is always going to be the real value driver with the businesses we’re investing in.’

The Africa Health Fund is backed by impact investors such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It had initially been set up by SME PE investor Aureos who were acquired by Abraaj in early 2012 .

From Africa Assets

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