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Mauritian company IBL purchases Kenyan drugs distributor Harley’s


Dr Rupen Haria, the managing director of Harley’s. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Mauritian conglomerate IBL Group has bought an undisclosed stake in Nairobi-based pharmaceuticals distributor Harley’s as part of a consortium that has taken control of the company.

This marks the latest investment in Kenya for IBL which last year acquired a 26.32 percent stake in supermarket chain Naivas Limited for $100 million (Sh12.5 billion) also as part of a consortium.

The multinational has several other pending acquisitions and new business formation plans in the local market, underlining its rapid investments in Kenya.

Read: Mauritian firm eyes more buyouts after Naivas deal

The conglomerate established an office in Nairobi to lead its search for buyout opportunities as part of its strategy to expand in East Africa.

“IBL Group…is the lead investor of a consortium that has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Harley’s, a leading medical and pharmaceutical importer-distributor in East Africa,” the conglomerate said in a statement.

“IBL’s partner in the consortium is Proparco, a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD).”

Proparco, a French fund, was also part of the consortium that acquired a combined 40 percent stake in Naivas for $151.9 million (Sh19 billion).

The buyout of Harley’s is the latest in the formal medical distribution sector that has attracted major investors including private equity funds.

Goodlife Pharmacy, for instance, has changed hands multiple times as institutional investors seek to benefit from increased spending on healthcare.

Based in Nairobi’s Westlands, Harley’s supplies pharmaceutical products and medical equipment.

Its products include drugs, hospital beds, intravenous poles, bedside cabinets, examination beds, delivery beds and stainless steel buckets.

The company’s suppliers include Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Roche. It has offices and stock points in five locations: Nairobi (Central), Mombasa (Coast), Eldoret (Western), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Kampala (Uganda).

Harley’s started operations in 1953 as a retail chemist. The company was acquired by its current management in 1975.

“At Harley’s, we are excited about forging this successful partnership with IBL. We are confident the values and strategic objectives of IBL are fully aligned with ours and we believe this partnership will propel us to the next phase of growth,” Dr Rupen Haria, the managing director of Harley’s, said.

Read: Mauritian multinational steps up Kenya expansion

“The operations of the company will continue to be managed by the experienced team at Harley’s and we thank the respective teams for getting this transaction over the line. The future looks bright.”

Harley’s employs 700 professionals across its regional operations.

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