Ghanaian startup mPharma, has acquired a majority stake in Uganda’s Vine Pharmacy, marking the company’s debut into its newest African market.
The acquisition follows 55% share sale by Abraaj Group, a private equity firm that imploded when investors, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, raised concerns about the administration of its $1 billion healthcare fund, according to TechCrunch. Abraaj purchased Vine Pharmacy in 2013, when it was Uganda’s largest pharmacy business.
mPharma will be exploring the market possibilities in Uganda through its acquisition of Vine Pharmacy just two years after mPharma purchased Kenya’s Haltons Pharmacy for $5 million, marking the company’s first push into the East African market.
“Vine used to be the biggest pharmacy chain in Uganda. At its peak, it had about 36 stores spread across the country. But with Abraaj as its largest shareholder, the business had to resize once there wasn’t any more capital available for growth. We are buying out the stake that Abraaj held,” mPharma co-founder and CEO Gregory Rockson told TechCrunch.
Rockson stated that he aims to restore Vine Pharmacy to its former glory, when it was Uganda’s largest retail pharmacy business.
When Abraaj took over, Vine Pharmacy had 20 locations across Uganda and set out on an aggressive development plan that included tripling the number of locations by 2018, a goal it met until Abraaj’s collapse.
Abraaj increased the pharmacy’s wholesale business, supplying government organisations and health institutions, and personalising patient care through home visits.
mPharma was launched in 2013 by co-founders, Rockson, Daniel Shoukimas, and James Finucane to manage prescription medicine inventories for pharmacies and their suppliers. It presently operates a retail pharmacy and delivers market research to hospitals, pharmacists, and consumers.