Press release

Ascent Rift Valley Fund Ltd successfully exits Medpharm Holdings Africa

October 3, 2022

Addis Ababa, 3rd October 2022 – Ascent Rift Valley Fund Ltd (“ARVF” or the “Fund”) is pleased to announce its successful exit of Medpharm Holdings Africa (“Medpharm” or the “Company”), the leading provider of medical diagnostic laboratory services in Ethiopia, through the sale of its stake to Cerba Lancet Africa (“CLA”), a leading network of clinical pathology and medical diagnosis in Africa with 170 sites, across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Founded in 2004, the Company which operates under the International Clinical Laboratories (“ICL”) brand, provides quality laboratory services across Ethiopia. The Company employs a hub and spoke model with the main laboratory located in the Kera area of Addis Ababa and 19 patient service centres in Addis Ababa and the regional cities of Bahir Dar, Mekelle, Hawassa, Adama, Gondar, Jimma, Dessie, Diredawa and Harrar. It has the widest test menu amongst private laboratory companies in Ethiopia and a strong focus on reliable, efficient service delivery. ARVF invested in Medpharm in 2015 and over that time the Company’s revenue has grown 9-fold with tests volumes growing 15,000 per month to 40,000 per month making it the diagnostics market leader in Ethiopia. The Company’s pioneering hub and spoke model in Ethiopia has expanded healthcare access in the country outside of Addis Ababa as well as to other countries in the region. Ascent’s partnership with ICL also saw the further entrenchment of ESG policies within the business with a particular focus on robust governance and the professionalization of internal systems.

David Owino, the Managing Partner at Ascent Capital Advisory Services LLP (“Ascent”) commented “We are pleased to have contributed to the growth of ICL to become the leading laboratory services provider in Ethiopia, expanding healthcare access to the people of Ethiopia. Our exit to Cerba Lancet Africa demonstrates the tremendous potential within the Ethiopian market and the partnership between Medpharm and Cerba Lancet Africa marks a significant milestone in the Company’s growth. Ascent remains committed to partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs to deliver growth, a commercial return, and positive social impact.”

Tamrat Bekele, Managing Director at Medpharm Holdings Africa said, “We have been privileged to work with Ascent, who in addition to providing capital, helped bring on board strategic expertise that has been useful in cementing our leadership position in the market. We are excited to advance our growth with an internationally reputable brand in Cerba Lancet Africa, expanding our network, test menu and capabilities. Ethiopia remains largely underserved and we look forward to delivering a larger positive impact in the country as well as to exploring opportunities in other markets in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Stephane Carre, CEO at Cerba Lancet Africa noted “This investment reflects our desire to develop the existing diagnostic offering in Africa, meeting the needs of the greatest number of people across the continent. We share with ICL management team the same desire to actively and continually upgrade the clinical pathology services in Ethiopia to enable healthcare providers to deliver essential medical support to patients throughout the country. In addition to its unique position in Ethiopia ICL will now also serve thousands of patients from surrounding region including Somalia, Djibouti and South Sudan. I am pleased to count on the Cerba Lancet Africa 1,600 employees’ team spirit and professionalism to welcome the talented people of ICL Ethiopia.”

Ascent, through its associated advisory firms, was advised by I&M Burbidge Capital Limited and Clyde & Co. in this transaction.

About Ascent Rift Valley Fund
Ascent Rift Valley Fund Limited (“ARVF”) is a USD 80 million private equity fund whose focus is to invest in East Africa targeting small and medium sized companies (SMEs). ARVF has invested in scalable fast-growing enterprises with investments amounts ranging between USD 2 million to USD 14 million per Investee Company.

Ascent Capital Africa Ltd is the exclusive investment adviser to ARVF. Through its associated advisory firms, Ascent Capital is represented in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. Ascent Capital Advisory Services LLP is the Kenyan firm advising Ascent Capital. For more information visit

About Cerba Lancet Africa
As the leading force in local medical diagnosis in Africa, Cerba Lancet Africa aims at offering the highest standards of pathology services to patients and medical communities over the continent. Its brand recognition draws on unrivalled medical expertise and a network of more than 100 ISO-accredited laboratories serving 3 million patients yearly. Its 1,600 employees are committed to sustain the evolution of diagnosis services toward better access and quality for the world’s fastest growing population. Cerba

Lancet Africa is majority owned by the French group Cerba HealthCare, a leading international player in medical diagnosis, and co-owned by Lancet Service Company, the foremost diagnostic company in sub-Saharan Africa.

About International Clinical Laboratories
International Clinical Laboratories International Clinical Laboratories (ICL) the largest and leading diagnostic laboratory in Ethiopia has been operating a quality laboratory service since 2004. ICL has one of the largest laboratory networks in the country availing low cost high quality service to majority of the population. ICL 350 strong and dedicated employees strive daily to serve and contribute to the enhancement of the Healthcare system in the country.

SOURCE: Ascent Africa