‘Attempted takeover of HealthPlus immoral’
Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Femi Ojumu, has described as immoral the attempted takeover of pharmaceutical retail outfit, HealthPlus, by a United Kingdom private equity firm, Alta Semper Capital.
In a statement yesterday, he said the attempted takeover had the potential of causing loss of jobs by the workers.
“It is morally wrong. I have an interest in this matter, as HealthPlus has created direct and indirect employment for almost 1000 Nigerians. I also can’t see why foreign private equity investors will renege on an investment agreement and seek to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of a successful brand. It is not acceptable,” he said.
The five-year investment agreement between Alta Semper and HealthPlus, signed in 2018, was to enable the pharmaceutical retail giant to expand its operations with funds from the foreign firm, which was to hold majority stake.
The agreement, however, broke down, following the equity firm’s refusal to release funds as agreed, resulting in hindrance for the expansion drive.
The development led HealthPlus to file a suit at the Federal High Court marked (FHC/L/CS/609/2020), seeking to stop the foreign firm from withholding funds, interfering with the functions of key employees, corporate governance abuse and attempting to sack the CEO.
Despite obtaining a motion on notice restraining Alta Semper from forcible takeover, the equity partner, on Saturday, announced that it had sacked HealthPlus CEO and founder, Mrs. Olubukola George, in a letter to the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN).
HealthPlus, in a statement the same day, described the announcement as illegal. On Friday, Alta Semper’s representatives attempted to seize the company without a board resolution and approved minutes of the board meeting that sanctioned their action.