Thursday, November 24 2022

On September 25, a press release appearing to come from the board of directors of HealthPlus, one of West Africa’s largest integrated pharmacy chains, said the company no longer required the services of its founder. , Bukky george, as CEO.

The decision to end George’s appointment came with the announcement of an interim leader: Chidi Okoro.

Renowned pharmacist and senior executive, Okoro will assume the role of Chief Transformation Officer. Similar to the role of a CEO, Okoro will optimize day-to-day management, help the business to scale and achieve profitability.

And a letter appearing to have come from HealthPlus’ board of directors to the Nigerian Pharmacists Council (PCN) states that George “remains a shareholder in the company, a member of the company board, and can participate in the company’s decision-making process at the end of the day. board level.

It was signed by Afsane Jetha and Zacharie Fond, Managing Partner and CEO and Director of Alta Semper Capital, respectively.

From investment and partnership to a power struggle

Alta Semper Capital LLP is a private equity (PE) company that invests in healthcare and consumer businesses across Africa. In 2017, the PE company invested in the Egyptian drug cosmetics company, Macro Pharma.

The following year, it entered into agreements with HealthPlus and the Moroccan clinic of oncology and radiology, Oncology and Radiology of Morocco (ODM).

Alta Semper Capital’s letter to the PCN

The investment in HealthPlus was $ 18 million.

Founded in 1999 by George, HealthPlus has over 90 retail outlets while employing over 850 people, including over 150 pharmacists. In Nigeria, the company claims to have a presence in 11 of the country’s 36 states.

It is also known for operating branches in strategically located residential areas, airports and shopping malls.

Alta Semper Capital’s investment was aimed at helping HealthPlus expand its store presence. Also, to hire more talent, develop distribution centers and explore e-commerce initiatives.

However, the influx of cash would have given the private equity firm a controlling stake in the business, which is one reason for the problems the business is currently facing.

In a declaration Outlining the reasons for George’s dismissal, the board, which appears to be headed by Alta Semper, said that since the start of the COVID pandemic, he has tried to explore ways to develop HealthPlus with her, but he there has been little or no progress. So they had to change direction.

However, the HealthPlus management team came to debunk these claims the next day.

“We wish to inform the general public, the Board of Pharmacists of Nigeria, our staff, loyal customers, vendors, owners, bankers and all stakeholders that the press release has not been authorized by the Company or anyone acting on their behalf. And that the announcement of the appointment of a CTO is totally false, illegal and illegal and should be totally ignored.

It is the work of unscrupulous foreign and local businesswomen and businessmen, determined to reap where they haven’t sown just because they now see opportunities from the COVID pandemic. 19, like scavengers and vultures, ”we read.

According to management, the five-year investment agreement called for the exit of the private equity firm in 2023.

But the PE firm has been accused of violating its end of the deal by withholding funds, causing the business to grow slowly. In return, George could have reversed the company’s decision to give him a controlling stake.

HealthPlus claims this led to the company’s hostile takeover bid.

The company initially tried to avoid this because George, who is a Endeavor Nigeria entrepreneur, filed a lawsuit against HealthPlus Africa Holdings Limited in May 2020. The holding company is said to be an investment vehicle used by Alta Semper Capital to manage HealthPlus Limited.

A necessary action plan or a deal gone bad?

According to the statement, the petition filed in the Federal High Court [Suit No. FHC/L/CS/609/2020] was to prevent the holding company from “deliberately delaying and withholding funds; interference in management, interference in the functions of key employees; abuse of corporate governance processes and now the attempt to remove her as CEO. “

Although the court ordered the holding company to cease these activities pending the final decision of the case, HealthPlus says it did not.

However, all requests from George and his management team to get Alta Semper to stop his blow seem to fall on deaf ears.

Yesterday the UK-based company released the news of Chidi Okoro as Chief Transformation Officer on his website. Also, recent reports of The cable claim that Alta Semper has started to consider taking over the company’s bank accounts and offices in Nigeria.

No one saw it coming, and it continues to develop.

In 2018, when HealthPlus sealed the investment and partnership with Alta Semper, George said:

“We believe Alta Semper is the right partner for our next stage of growth. Alta Semper’s focus on the healthcare sector, along with its ability to invest patient and flexible capital, will allow us to strategically expand across Nigeria. We believe we have found a partner who can help us achieve this goal over the next few years. “

Jetha, on the other hand, said Alta Semper is excited about the partnership and looks forward to working closely with George and his team to further unleash HealthPlus’ growth potential.

Two years later, the roles were completely reversed.

Details of the $ 18 million investment remain vague at this time, but if Alta Semper is indeed the majority shareholder in the company, one would think it is within the company’s right to take this step. . The ousting of Steve Jobs and Travis Kalanick as CEOs of Apple and Uber, respectively, comes to mind.

But if it doesn’t, then this is a classic example of a case gone bad.

Featured Image: One of the HealthPlus stores. Source: HealthPlus Facebook. стро займ в иркутскеайм на киви кошелек ез роверокайм с 19 ет на карту


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