Verod Capital Management’s acquisition of a significant minority stake in Medplus
West African private equity firm, Verod Capital Management partnered with Medplus in March 2022, taking a significant minority stake in Nigeria’s largest pharmaceutical retail business. The investment was funded by Verod’s Capital Growth Fund III, an investment fund with a hard cap of US$200 million, targeting mid-sized growth companies in Anglophone West Africa, with a primary focus on Nigeria and Ghana. The investment is part of its broader strategy to deepen access and affordability in the healthcare sector.
The Medplus brand was launched as Medicine Plus in 1993, with its first store in Adeola Odeku. Over the years, the company has adapted to changing customer demand and its offerings have grown across multiple product lines, from essential drugs to wellness and beauty products. Medplus currently operates over 70 stores across the country, as well as an active e-commerce platform.
Nigeria’s fast-growing urban population, increasing healthy lifestyle consciousness, the need for better verification to address counterfeit drugs, and favourable regulatory support position the pharmaceutical industry and, by association, Medplus for further growth. The capital injection will be used to expand Medplus’ network of stores across the country, deepen its digital channel, and further address growing demand for convenient, reliable, accessible care and ancillary services.
Verod Capital’s extensive experience supporting the development of companies, providing best-in-class environmental, social and governance practices, and their resources, network and insights will assist Medplus in its strategic growth strategy.
Verod is backed by mainly foreign and institutional investors, including pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, asset management firms, fund of funds, family offices and development finance institutions.
Advisers: Stanbic IBTC Capital, Templars, G Elias and Banwo & Ighodalo.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEAL OF THE YEAR 2022
In May 2022, LeapFrog Investments and Tana Africa Capital made a strategic investment in Lagos-based Interswitch. The investment included a primary infusion of cash and a purchase of shares from existing shareholders. For Helios Investment Partners, an Africa-focused private investment firm, it was a further partial exit of its 12-year investment.
Partial exit by Helios Investment Partners from Interswitch
to LeapFrog Investments and Tana Africa Capital
In 2015, Sahel Capital acquired a 25% stake in the Nigerian dairy producer and processor, L&Z Integrated Farms, to support the expansion of its business operations by increasing the capacity of its processing plant and dairy farm. The investment was structured through its maiden vehicle, Fund for Agriculture Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN), an agribusiness-focused private equity fund that provides tailored investment capital and technical assistance to high-growth, commercially attractive agricultural SMEs across all regions in Nigeria, using quasi-equity, equity and structured debt instruments.
Sahel Capital’s exit of L&Z Integrated Farms
Runners Up (in no particular order)
Seven years on, the West African fund manager’s successful exit through a buyout led by its founder, M. D. Abubakar, leaves L&Z as a formidable brand in Nigeria’s dairy sector, and one that has had significant development impact in the communities in which it operates.
A number of value creation initiatives were implemented during the seven-year partnership, such as the expansion of the dairy processing operations and the herd size, together with onboarding top finance operations and sales talents to support the growth of the business, strengthening the institutional structures of the firm. Abubakar further attributes the partnership to shaping its sustainability mindset and the incorporation of ESG into the operations, as well as providing strategic and financial support, instrumental in enabling the business to scale beyond a family business to become one of Nigeria’s leading indigenous integrated dairy farms.
FAFIN’s size is US$65,9 million, with an investment ticket size of $500,000 to $8,2 million. Investors include the African Development Bank, British International Investment, Dutch Good Growth Fund (managed by Triple Jump), KfW Development Bank, the Nigerian Federal Government (via the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Federal Ministry of Finance), and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority.
A disrupter in the African payments ecosystem, Interswitch – a leading player with critical mass across sub-Saharan Africa’s rapidly developing financial ecosystem – is active across the payments value chain, providing a full suite of omni-channel payment solutions. Interswitch operates two flagship brands, Verve, a debit card scheme operating across Africa, and Quickteller, a multichannel consumer and business payments platform.
In December 2010, an investor group, led by Helios, acquired a majority equity interest in Interswitch. In March 2017, global private equity firm, TA Associates acquired a minority interest in Interswitch. Two years later, Visa joined Helios Investment Partners, TA Associates and IFC as the primary shareholders in Interswitch after taking a 20% stake, said to have had a price tag of US$200 million, valuing the fintech company at $1 billion. Plans to take Interswitch public (thereby triggering possible exits for backers, Helios Investment Partners, TA Investments, Adlevo Capital and others) have failed on two occasions.
In 2016, the attempt stalled amid a contraction in Nigeria’s economy, while the second – planned for the first half of 2020 – failed when the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across the globe.
Interswitch will use the new investment to support financial inclusion and the fintech ecosystem across Africa by enhancing innovative, digital capabilities to deliver sustainable scale. Alongside existing investors, LeapFrog and Tana will work with management to drive the fintech company’s pan-African strategy by accessing new customers across the continent, launching new products and services, and supporting its financial inclusion strategy.
When Interswitch does eventually list, the unicorn will reveal its worth for its long-term investors.
Advisers: Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie and Banwo & Ighodalo.