VENTURES AFRICA – The Abraaj Group, one of the world’s leading private equity investors in global growth markets has announced an investment in Vine Pharmaceuticals, the largest pharmacy retail chain in Uganda.
This investment was made through Abraaj’s subsidiary, the Africa Health Fund, and marks the fund’s first foray into the pharmaceutical retail and distribution sector. Though Abraaj’s representatives declined to reveal the size of the investment of the terms of the deal, the new fund injection is expected to help Vine in actualizing its expansion plans and increasing its share in Uganda’s fast growing pharmaceutical market. According to Abraaj’s press statement, expenditure in Uganda’s pharmaceutical industry is growing at a CAGR of 13 percent and forecast to increase from the $268 million spent in 2011 to $545 million by 2014.
Vine Pharmaceuticals was founded in 1999 by Grace Munyirwa, one of Uganda’s more renowned entrepreneurs. Within its 14 years, the company has grown to become Uganda’s largest pharmacy retailer, with 21 stores, a thriving pharmaceutical import outfit and staff strength of close to 100 people. With the new funds, Vine is expected to extend its branch network outside Kampala, while building the capacity of its wholesale distribution business serving clinics, hospitals and other pharmacies.
Commenting on the investment, Shakir Merali, Partner of The Abraaj Group, said, “Vine will be an important beneficiary of the continued growth in pharmaceutical expenditure in Uganda through both its retail and wholesale businesses.”
Grace Munyirwa, Founder of Vine Pharmaceuticals, said: “I am proud of the work our team has done to take Vine to its leading position in the Ugandan market, and I am looking forward to taking the business to the next level with Abraaj’s support.”
The Africa Health Fund was founded n June 2009 with investments from the International Finance Corporation, The African Development Bank, DEG, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Fund aims to provide low-income Africans with access to affordable, high quality health services and investors with strong long-term financial returns.