Last February, the IBL Group announced that it was the main investor in a consortium that had signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Harley’s, a major medical and pharmaceutical distributor in East Africa. At the end of 2023, the conglomerate announced the completion of this transaction, following legal and regulatory procedures.

PHOTO (DR): Dr Rupen Hariah (Managing Director, Harley’s), Arnaud Lagesse (Managing Director, IBL Group), Asvin Hariah (Founder, Harley’s), Nishil Hariah (Chief Operating Officer, Harley’s).

“Owning a majority stake in such a company underlines our commitment to strategic expansion and our long-term vision for the medical and pharmaceutical sector in East Africa. I’m proud to see that our ‘IBL Beyond Borders’ strategy continues to progress and is proving successful, with a number of projects coming to fruition, including that of Harley’s”, says Arnaud Lagesse, Group CEO of IBL. Founded in 1953, Harley’s is a family-run business employing over 700 professionals in five different East African cities: Nairobi, Mombasa and Eldoret in Kenya, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Kampala in Uganda.

An integrated regional distribution center for East Africa

This acquisition by IBL is in harmony with the Group’s internationalization strategy, IBL Beyond Borders, which begins by strengthening its presence in East Africa. The basis of this expansion is the Group’s human capital, already present in over 18 countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. IBL is already active in the medical device marketing sector, notably through HealthActiv. It’s a safe bet that this acquisition of Harley’s is part of the plan to strengthen the regional presence of HealthActiv, which has already announced its ambition to become a “preferred regional provider of health and wellness solutions”.

“Ultimately, the establishment of an integrated regional center for distribution in East Africa is envisaged. The main objectives are to act as a coordinator between the supplier and the market, to accelerate the company’s expansion into other territories, and to increase its negotiating power in terms of centralized purchasing and territorial rights.
It will also enable better demand planning. HealthActiv will also be able to support, guide and develop a regional office in the respective local markets”, announced the group on its website.

Proparco, the financial arm of Agence Française de Développement (AFD), is IBL’s partner in this consortium for this investment in Harley’s.