KENYA – LeapFrog Investments is injecting US$3 million (KSh309 million) into Goodlife Pharmacy to expand outlets of the regional beauty and drugstore firm, reports Business Daily.

The private equity firm, which has a controlling stake in Goodlife wants the money used in opening new branches beyond the current 52 locations in Kenya and five in Uganda.

Goodlife chief executive Amaan Khalfan said the firm would open six new outlets in the next four weeks as it sets eyes on deepening its presence in the two countries.

“We want to be closer to our customers since pharmacies are the first contact point for many of them before going to the hospital. We want to ensure we are not just a product pusher but a service provider,” he said.

Two of the new outlets will be in Kisumu and one each in Eldoret, Meru and Embu while another one will be in Uganda.

This will bring the total outlets to 63, marking a rapid growth for a firm that started with just four outlets in 2016.

Mr Khalfan said two out of the six outlets set for opening are through acquisitions, even as he promised to retain existing staff so that customer relations are not damaged.

“In both cases, the current owners want to move out. All the acquisitions are based on solid principle that the business is not destabilised, and the client base of those businesses are not affected” he said.

Goodlife has been expanding through a mix of setting up new stores as well as acquiring existing ones.

In January, it bought assets belonging to Maghreb Pharmacy. However, Mr Khalfan ruled out onboarding of new investors in the short-term to fund expansion.

“LeapFrog has seen the value in the business and are pleased with our expansion plans. They see the value in us becoming a primary health hub and awareness centre in the region. We don’t need other investors right now,” he said.

LeapFrog paid US$22m (KSh2.2 billion) to buy out the entire stake held by PE firm Catalyst Fund in 2016. This firmed up expansion given that the International Finance Corporation had also injected in US$4m (KSh405 million) in 2015.