SOUTH AFRICA – Imperial Logistics Ltd, an African and European focused provider of integrated market access and logistics solutions, has acquired a 49% stake in Pharmafrique, trading as Kiara Health an African pharmaceutical manufacturing and healthcare services company based in Johannesburg.

Imperial says the investment is in line with the group’s strategy to backward integrate into contract manufacturing as part of its market access service to multinationals on the continent.

“Kiara’s aspiration to deliver world class medical solutions to all patients on the African continent resonates strongly with Imperial’s purpose to connect Africa and the world and to improve people’s lives with access to quality products and services,” said Imperial Group CEO Mohammed Akoojee.

“The company’s portfolio and pipeline of innovative pharmaceutical products and next generation medical devices – including robotics, devices and point-of-care diagnostics – also present opportunities that will be leveraged to benefit all the people of Africa.”

Kiara Health serves as the local, non-exclusive manufacturing partner for a global leader in generic and biosimilar medicines and as a commercial partner for several global pharmaceutical and medical technology companies. 

“Kiara’s world class manufacturing capabilities, and our exceptional governance and regulatory expertise, see us justifiably placed at the forefront of the South African healthcare manufacturing industry,” said Kiara Health CEO and president Dr Skhumbuzo Ngozwana.

“Imperial is proud to be a shareholder in this remarkable business. We look forward to the increased value this acquisition will bring to our strategic partnerships with multinational clients wanting to enter and grow in African markets,” added Akoojee.

Imperial Logistics Ltd recently reported a 65% fall in full-year earnings, largely due to the impact of COVID-19 on revenue, associated once-off costs and impairments and further restructuring at home.

The ground freight firm handled fewer containers in the second half of its financial year due to lockdown restrictions in various countries.

Its African logistics business, mainly in South Africa, saw increased demand from fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and healthcare clients as the pandemic drove heightened demand and consumption. The firm added capacity to meet demand, it said.

Many of its markets have now eased lockdown restrictions and July and August have seen significant recovery “although volumes remain at pre-COVID-19 levels”, it said.

Imperial reported continuing headline earnings per share (HEPS) of 156 cents for the year ended June 30, down from a restated 448 cents in the previous year.

“We anticipate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to significantly impact our operations and performance in the short term,” the firm said.

Imperial said it expects to deliver revenue and operating profit growth in the 2021 financial year as well as growth in continuing HEPS compared to the prior year.

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