Ascent Rift Valley Fund Ltd successfully exits its stake in Medpharm Holdings Africa

Ascent Rift Valley Fund Ltd successfully exits its stake in Medpharm Holdings Africa

  • Founded in 2004, the Company which operates under the International Clinical Laboratories (“ICL”) brand, provides quality laboratory services across Ethiopia

Ascent Rift Valley Fund Ltd (“ARVF” or the “Fund”) is pleased to announce its successful exit of Medpharm Holdings Africa (“Medpharm” or the “Company”), the leading provider of medical diagnostic laboratory services in Ethiopia, through the sale of its stake to Cerba Lancet Africa (“CLA”), a leading network of clinical pathology and medical diagnosis in Africa with 170 sites, across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Founded in 2004, the Company which operates under the International Clinical Laboratories (“ICL”) brand, provides quality laboratory services across Ethiopia.

The Company employs a hub and spoke model with the main laboratory located in the Kera area of Addis Ababa and 19 patient service centres in Addis Ababa and the regional cities of Bahir Dar, Mekelle, Hawassa, Adama, Gondar, Jimma, Dessie, Diredawa and Harrar.

 It has the widest test menu amongst private laboratory companies in Ethiopia and a strong focus on reliable, efficient service delivery. 

ARVF invested in Medpharm in 2015 and over that time the Company’s revenue has grown 9 fold with tests volumes growing 15,000 per month to 40,000 per month making it the diagnostics market leader in Ethiopia. 

The Company’s pioneering hub and spoke model in Ethiopia has expanded healthcare access in the country outside of Addis Ababa as well as to other countries in the region. 

Ascent’s partnership with ICL also saw the further entrenchment of ESG policies within the business with a particular focus on robust governance and the professionalization of internal systems.

David Owino, the Managing Partner at Ascent Capital Advisory Services LLP (“Ascent”) commented “We are pleased to have contributed to the growth of ICL to become the leading laboratory services provider in Ethiopia, expanding healthcare access to the people of Ethiopia. 

He added: "Our exit to Cerba Lancet Africa demonstrates the tremendous potential within the Ethiopian market and the between Medpharm and Cerba Lancet Africa marks a significant milestone in the Company’s growth. Ascent remains committed to partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs to deliver growth, a commercial return, and positive social impact.”

Tamrat Bekele, Managing Director at Medpharm Africa said the company is privileged to work with Ascent, who in addition to providing capital, helped bring on board strategic expertise that has been useful in cementing our leadership position in the market.

"We are excited to advance our growth with an internationally reputable brand in Cerba Lancet Africa, expanding our network, test menu and capabilities. Ethiopia remains largely underserved and we look forward to delivering a larger positive impact in the country as well as to exploring opportunities in other markets in Sub-Saharan Africa," said Bekele.

Stephane Carre, CEO at Cerba Lancet Africa noted they share with ICL management team the same desire to actively and continually upgrade the clinical pathology services in Ethiopia to enable healthcare providers to deliver essential medical support to patients throughout the country.

 "In addition to its unique position in Ethiopia ICL will now also serve thousands of patients from surrounding region including Somalia, Djibouti and South Sudan. I am pleased to count on the Cerba Lancet Africa 1,600 employees’ team spirit and professionalism to welcome the talented people of ICL Ethiopia,” said Carre.

Ascent, through its associated advisory firms, was advised by I&M Burbidge Capital Limited and Clyde & Co. in this transaction.

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