Ghanaian entrepreneur Greg Rockson is eyeing a piece of Kenya's pharmaceutical industry and has tabled a deal worth $5 million to open shop in Kenya

Ghanaian entrepreneur Greg Rockson. (Financial Times)
  • Mr Rockson who owns Ghanaian prescription drugs company mPharma is set to take over Kenyan pharmacy chain Haltons.
  • Mr Rockson says he is keen on streamlining operations of the pharmaceutical supply chain across Africa through a Vendor Management Inventory (VMI) system.
  • The deal, which is subject to approval by the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), will see mPharma spread its network across the East African market.

Ghanaian entrepreneur Greg Rockson is eyeing a piece of Kenya's pharmaceutical industry.

Mr Rockson who owns Ghanaian prescription drugs company mPharma is set to take over Kenyan pharmacy chain Haltons in a transaction estimated to be worth about Sh500 million ($5 million).

The deal, which is subject to approval by the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), will see mPharma spread its network across the East African market.

Mr Rockson says he is keen on streamlining operations of the pharmaceutical supply chain across Africa through a Vendor Management Inventory (VMI) system that is currently used by over 250 pharmacies in Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“The drug supply chain in Africa is built on a ‘push’ data model,’’ Mr Rockson says.

The inventory management system is able to control supplies by forecasting demand for prescription drugs and helping in building bargaining power with suppliers, eventually lowering the cost of medicine.

“Distributors have to wait to receive a purchase order from providers before supplying drugs to them. This model is built on siloed data systems between distributors and providers. As a result, both parties are unable to forecast demand which leads to frequent stockouts,” he said during an interview with a Ghanaian media house.

The Kenya-based investment fund, Fanisi Capital, holds a majority stake in Haltons Pharmacy following a Sh300 million ($3 million) investment in the business in 2013. The pharmacy chain was originally founded by Louis Machogu.

mPharma is currently finalising a Sh1.2 billion ($12 million) Series B funding round led by 4DX, an Accra/San Francisco venture capital firm and locally-based Novastar Ventures. It raised $6.6 million in 2017 in addition to a seed round of Sh500 million ($5 million) in 2015.

The mPharma-Haltons deal comes in the wake of another big buyout after Goodlife, a beauty and drugstore chain bought out assets of Maghreb Pharmacy. Goodlife Pharmacy has set a target to grow its footprint to 100 outlets regionally.

The looming Haltons takeover follows approval of Dubai-based healthcare company Shalina’s buyout of an undisclosed stake in Kenya’s Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company, a transaction that expanded the firm’s medicine production and distribution venture to seven countries in Africa.

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