Ascent Capital Managing Partner David Owino.
Ascent Capital Managing Partner David Owino. Photo/ Money &Markets

Ascent Rift Valley Fund Ltd (ARVF) has sold its stake in Ethiopian medical diagnostic laboratory company Medpharm Holdings Africa.

In a statement, ARVF said it had sold 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.

“We have been 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,” Tamrat Bekele, Managing Director at Medpharm Africa said.

Founded in 2004, Medpharm which operates under the International Clinical Laboratories (ICL) brand, provides 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.

“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. Our exit to Cerba Lancet Africa demonstrates the tremendous potential within the Ethiopian market and the partnership 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,” David Owino, the Managing Partner at Ascent Capital Advisory Services LLP commented.

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

“This investment reflects our desire to develop the existing diagnostic offering in Africa, meeting the needs of the greatest number of people across the continent. We 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,” Stephane Carre, CEO at Cerba Lancet Africa noted.

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

Read: Ascent Announces Final Close Of Ascent Rift Valley Fund II At Ksh15B

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