Global and Julphar plan Mideast pharmacy chain

Global Investment House (Global) yesterday said its funds would invest in building a chain of drug stores across the Middle East and North Africa with Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries of the UAE.

Two of Kuwait-based Global's private equity funds and other investors would own 60 per cent of venture, Planet Pharmacies, which will have an initial capital of 900 million dirham ($245.1m).

Gulf Pharmaceutical, also known as Julphar, will own the rest of the venture. Planet's investment will increase to three billion dirhams, Global said.

"The company will commence its operations with 65 pharmacies and clinics and aims to spread to the entire Middle East and North Africa by 2010 with more than 2,000 pharmacies," it said.
Planet Pharmacies chairman Abdul Razzaq Yousef, and Global executive vice-president and Planet vice-chairman Omar El-Quqa, made this announcement.

Planet's stores would also tie up with insurance companies.

Julphar said last week it planned to invest 1.23bn dirhams over three years to push into Asian and Middle Eastern markets and set up an insulin plant in Ras Al Khaimah, where it is based.
Global estimates the pharmaceutical industry in Gulf Arab region maintained a compound annual growth rate of more than 10pc in the six years to 2004, compared with 6pc for the industry globally, head of private equity Shailesh Dash said.

The industry will sustain "double-digit" expansion through the next five to six years on population growth and increasing healthcare infrastructure investments, Dash said.

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