Alta Semper a private equity manager, investing flexible and strategic capital across selected African growth markets, has announced its partnership with Nigeria’s leading retail pharmacy chain HealthPlus. Under the terms of the agreement, Alta Semper is investing US$18 million into HealthPlus, which will enable the company to expand its retail footprint and enhance its competitive position. Alta Semper specifically invests into market-leading businesses in defensive sub-sectors within the consumer and healthcare verticals.
Announcing the partnership through a press statement jointly signed by the two companies, it noted that the healthcare and retail markets in Nigeria are characterised by growing demand, driven by favourable demographics, increased consumer awareness and evolving consumption patterns. Furthermore, Nigeria is home to one of the least penetrated formal retail markets in the world, despite its large and growing population. The retail pharmacy sector is highly fragmented, with many independent drug stores and several patent medicine outlets.
The statement further described the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry, though full of many opportunities, but its besieged with several challenges, a situation which prompted the investment company to invest in the industry.
“Given structural challenges with the industry supply chain, counterfeit pharmaceuticals find their way into over forty percent of the retail market, while most wholesale and retail sales across the country are still made through informal markets. Moreover, much of the healthcare infrastructure is confined to major cities, with people living in urban areas having approximately four times as much access to healthcare as those living in rural areas.
“The investment into HealthPlus will enable the company to capture the pent-up demand for high-quality yet affordable healthcare and professional beauty supplies by developing regional distribution centres in commercial hubs across Nigeria, rapidly expanding the Company’s footprint across Nigeria as well as developing a wholesale channel and investing in private label and e-commerce”.
This transaction marks Alta Semper’s first investment in Nigeria.
Commenting on the investment, Bukky George, Founder & CEO of HealthPlus said
“We believe Alta Semper is the right partner for our next stage of growth. Alta Semper’s focus on the healthcare sector, as well as its ability to invest patient and flexible capital, will allow us to grow strategically across Nigeria and further our mission to provide high quality and affordable healthcare products and services to a market that is large and growing. Our vision is to be Africa’s #1 for pharmacy, wellness and beauty. We believe we have found a partner who can help us achieve this goal over the coming years.
Commenting on the investment, Afsane Jetha, Managing Partner & CEO of Alta Semper said:
“We are very excited about our partnership with HealthPlus, a remarkable example of a homegrown company that has become one of the largest specialty retailers in West Africa. We believe HealthPlus is well-positioned to take advantage of the grossly under-penetrated Nigerian pharmacy retail market and meet the growing demands of Nigerian consumers, as well as to expand regionally into neighbouring countries. We believe that this is an opportune time to enter the Nigerian retail market and invest into a market-leading player such as HealthPlus, which presents a unique risk-adjusted entry strategy, given its existing size and geographic scope. We are looking forward to working closely with Bukky George and her team to further unlock the Company’s growth potential.”
HealthPlus was founded in 1999 by Mrs. Olubukunola Adewunmi (Bukky) George, FPSN, a Nigeria and UK-trained pharmacist with over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, who has organically grown the business into the leading pharmacy chain and retailer of beauty supplies in West Africa.
The company’s quest is to provide the Nigerian consumer with high-quality, life-saving and affordable products and services. Furthermore, the company aims to make a meaningful and lasting impact by contributing its quota to the achievement of universal healthcare coverage and to increasing life expectancy for all Nigerians.
It targets a broad base of consumers through the provision of healthcare products such as prescription and over-the-counter medicines, nutritional supplements, natural remedies, home medical equipment, mobility aids and pharmacy services.
The company employs over 700 people which includes 150 pharmacists, with at least two pharmacists dispensing prescription medicines and providing counselling, free health screenings and value-adding pharmacy services at each pharmacy. It operates branches in strategically-located residential areas, shopping centres and airports across 11 of the 36 states in Nigeria. HealthPlus has one of the highest brand recognition and ratings of any consumer company in Nigeria.
The dedication and professionalism of the company has been recognised with several excellence awards including the ICERTIAS Best Buy Award for #1 Pharmacy in Best Price-Quality Ratio 2017, the Nigerian Customer Service Award for Best in the Pharmaceutical Category 2017 and the Nigeria Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA) 2016, 2015, 2014.