Abraaj sells Tunisian pharmaceutical company Opalia Pharma

The Abraaj Group has sold Tunisian pharmaceutical company Opalia Pharma S.A. to Recordati, an international pharmaceutical company listed on the Italian stock exchange. Abraaj invested in Opalia in 2009 and the deal marks the firm’s first realization in the Tunisian market.

Press Release

The Abraaj Group (“Abraaj”), a leading investor operating in global growth markets, has announced its full exit from Tunisian pharmaceutical company Opalia Pharma S.A. (“Opalia”). The Group has sold its entire stake to Recordati, an international pharmaceutical company listed on the Italian stock exchange.

The Abraaj Group invested into Opalia in 2009 and the deal marks the Group’s first realization in the Tunisian market. Over the past four years, Abraaj’s involvement with Opalia helped increase sales by 2.5x. In addition to Abraaj’s stake, Recordati has agreed to acquire a total of 90% of Opalia.

Opalia Pharma is a Tunisian pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Ariana, a suburb of Tunis. The company was established in 1988, ranks eighth in the Tunisian pharmaceutical market and is the third largest local pharmaceutical company. The company markets branded generic drugs with leading products in dermatology and in the gastrointestinal and respiratory therapeutic areas. Opalia manufactures most of its products in a modern, CGMP certified production facility specialized in liquid and semi-solid forms. The company employs around 320 people.

Ahmed Badreldin, Partner, The Abraaj Group, said: “The investment case for Opalia was compelling, as the company operates in a pharmaceutical market which has seen uninterrupted growth in Tunisia over recent years, driven by favourable demographics and increasing GDP per capita. The penetration of generic drugs manufacturing, which has historically been low in North Africa, is now gradually increasing to European levels. We invested in Opalia because the company had the right team and the right product mix. It is now time for a firm such as Recordati, a global player in pharmaceuticals, to take Opalia Pharma forward.”

Adel Goucha, Director, The Abraaj Group, said: “The successful conclusion and the smooth overall process of this transaction is further evidence of the resilient deal-making environment that exists in North African countries, particularly in Tunisia. As regional economies continue to grow, there will be further attractive investment opportunities.”

Alya El Hedda, Founder of Opalia Pharma, who will be staying on as CEO, said: “Abraaj’s investment and ongoing support over the past four years has been invaluable to Opalia’s growth story. It has laid the foundations for the next phase of our expansion. I would like to place on record my thanks to Abraaj and state how much we are looking forward to working with and learning from Recordati.”

The Abraaj Group was advised by Société Générale Corporate and Investment Banking, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Meziou, Knani & Khlif.