Abraaj enters African pharmaceutical market

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Dubai-based private equity investor Abraaj has announced its plans to make an investment in Vine Pharmaceuticals, the largest pharmacy retail chain in Uganda.
Dubai-based private equity investor Abraaj has announced its plans to make an investment in Vine Pharmaceuticals, the largest pharmacy retail chain in Uganda. (photo used for illustrative purpose only). Photo-money/Flickr

Dubai-based private equity investor Abraaj has announced its plans to make an investment in Vine Pharmaceuticals, the largest pharmacy retail chain in Uganda.

Abraaj is involved with the International Finance Corporation, The African Development Bank, DEG and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in the Africa Health Fund. This is Abraaj’s first investment in the pharmaceutical retail and distribution sector for the Africa Health Fund. The fund, established in June 2009, seeks to improve the access of healthcare facilities and services among low-income Africans. At the same time, investors are offered high long-term financial returns.

The capital is expected to help Vine in expanding its outreach and market share in Uganda’s rapidly growing pharmaceutical market. Expenditure in the country’s pharmaceutical market is growing at an annual rate of 13 percent. It is forecasted to surge from USD 268 million in 2011 to USD 545 million by 2014.

Founded in 1999, Vine Pharmaceuticals is the largest Ugandan pharmacy retailer, with 21 stores, 98 employees and a pharmaceutical import business. In a statement, Abraaj has claimed that it will help support Vine in extending its branch network outside Kampala and building the capacity of its wholesale distribution business that serves clinics, hospitals and other pharmacies.

Commenting on the tie up, Grace Munyirwa, founder and director of Vine Pharmaceuticals, believes that “their expertise in the health sector and their track record of helping to grow businesses by investing in operational improvements and more sophisticated business management systems will make them the perfect partners as we expand our presence across the country and develop our promising wholesale business.”

The diversified portfolio of Abraaj Group already includes investments in nine hospitals, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, and medical devices manufacturing all over the world. The fund has stakes in the Philippines retail pharmacy chain HBC and Saudi Arabia’s Tadawi Group.

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