XSML puts more investment into Ugandan pharmacy chain Ecopharm

Fund manager XSML has made its fourth investment in Ugandan pharmacy chain Ecopharm. Since XSML’s first investment in Ecopharm, the chain has doubled its store network to 15 branches. It plans to add a further 3 stores as a result fo the new investment.

Ecopharm was founded in 2008 by pharmacist Idd Iwumbwe. It sells branded and locally-made pharmaceutical products and also acts as a wholesaler of pharmaceutical products. XSML made its third investment in the company in late 2018, when it had 12 branches. It made its second investment in November 2017, when Ecopharm had just 8 branches.

XSML has made the investment through its The African Rivers Fund (ARF) III, which targets small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Central & East African region covering Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Republic of Congo.

XSML has also made investments in DRC, notably a generics manufacturer and a leading private clinic.

In 2013 Abraaj Group made a major investment in Vine Pharmaceuticals, a Kampala-based pharmaceutical retailer and wholesaler. Founded in 1999, at the time it was billed as the largest pharmacy retail chain in Uganda, with 21 stores. Subsequently, Abraaj’s various funds were sold to other private equity firms. TPG Capital’s Rise Fund took its healthcare business.

Other Ugandan pharmacy chains include C&A Pharmacy, which has four outlets, and Pine Pharmacy, which has five outlets, and Escorts Pharmaceuticals, which has six outlets.