A private equity firm which supposedly invested $18 million in Healthplus, the pharmacy chain in Nigeria, claimed the management of Healthplus is not executing as desired. Healthplus Management disputes that assertion, maintaining it was an excuse to do something horrible to the firm. As that happens, litigation is flaring up. The PE, Alta Semper Capital, has “changed” the CEO of the company, and claiming to be the majority shareholder, plans to take control of the company operations. Then, I read this from Nairametrics.
- The new funding was to enable the company to expand its retail footprint and enhance its competitive position.
- It had approximately 80 locations across the country at the time and currently has about 90 branches.
- HealthPlus Ltd is owned by HealthPlus Africa Holdings Ltd, with a 94,998 ownership, while Bukky George owns 5,002 shares; thus, 94.9% ownership and 5.1% ownership respectively.
- Nairametrics understands that Bukky George owns less than 50% of HealthPlus Africa Holdings, while Alta Semper owns majority shares in the holding company, estimated at between 53% and 55%.
- Sources inform Nairametrics that HealthPlus makes about N5 billion in revenue annually.
Did it mean the company was worth about $20 million since the new “investment” was $18 million? And the owners lost the majority on that? Healthplus is a category-king company and certainly should be in multiples, in my opinion.
Alta Semper, also known as Idi Holdings, had announced a $18-million investment into the health firm in 2018.
However, founder Bukky George told BusinessDay that Alta Semper Capital LLC UK (AS) announced an $18 million investment in HealthPlus on March 15, 2018, but paid up $10 million as Tranche 1. Tranche 2 was due 12 months later.
She said the pledged funds were never fully disbursed in order to implement the firm’s strategic objectives, stressing that its growth journey had been fraught with serious challenges, unmet expectations, and erosion of market share and brand equity.
If this is true, the Nigerian government should do what they did when Philip Osondu signed out his life, on contract, to play for an European team for life! Yes, a team tricked Osondu with a football contract. And he was never going to be a free man, in football. Quickly, the then Nigeria Football Association (NFA) put a rule that all foreign contracts to Nigerian players must be vetted by NFA to prevent that type of evil. Sure, no one needs government on private commercial deals!
Here, the problem is not just the equity holding percentage but the voting power of the class of shares. There are many things which look severely troubling here. We hope it ends well as Healthplus is already bleeding value. Yes, few will supply them drugs under this climate unless they prepay.
While there are issues here, I do not think this valuation makes sense for the possibly largest modern pharmacy chain in Nigeria. No wonder, some stakeholders are pushing for changes in the agreement. What is happening here is complex and frightening, and every founder should learn from it.