Global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group has completed the acquisition of a majority stake in AK Life Sciences, Abacus, a pharmaceutical company in East Africa.
Equity for the transaction came from Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund (CSSAF). Financial terms are not disclosed.
Founded in 1995, Abacus is one of the largest distributors of pharmaceutical products in East Africa and the largest manufacturer of parenterals, IV fluids, ear, eye and nose drops, in Uganda.
The company has a differentiated product offering, ranging from mission critical parenterals to branded generics for chronic therapeutic areas such as oncology, diabetes and cardiovascular. Abacus has an extensive distribution network with 30 wholesale branches across Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Kenya, of which many are located in remote and rural areas.
The company is the distributor of choice for many multinational pharmaceutical companies looking to enter the East African market because of its strong brand recognition, reputation for quality and extensive distribution network.
Ramesh Babu, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Abacus, said, “Abacus has grown to become one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in East Africa, and today we employ more than 800 people throughout the region and have a distribution network of 30 wholesale branches. We have created a strong platform for further growth and have established good relationships with large multinational pharmaceutical companies and local suppliers. We are excited to partner with Carlyle and expect to benefit from their deep industry knowledge and experience, and look forward to building on our company’s success to date.”
Genevieve Sangudi, Managing Director at The Carlyle Group, said: “Abacus has best-in-class distribution capabilities and an established regional platform to build on, taking advantage of the favorable demographics and growing pharmaceutical demand throughout East Africa. We see an opportunity to support Abacus and to leverage Carlyle’s platform to provide the company with access to new markets as well as broadening supplier relationships with European and North American innovators. We look forward to working closely with the founders and the management team to drive growth in the next phase of the company’s development.”
The Carlyle Group has invested more than $11.5 billion of equity in more than 65 transactions across the global healthcare industry as of June 30, 2018.
Carlyle was advised on the transaction by McKinsey (commercial), Clifford Chance (legal), and KPMG (financial).