Private equity firm sees healthcare opportunity in Liberia

Snapper Hill Clinic plans to increase its medical facilities in Monrovia from one to three by the end of 2017.

Last month the London-based private equity firm, TLG Capital, announced that it had invested an undisclosed amount in Snapper Hill Clinic, a Liberian healthcare provider which runs the largest private out-patient facility in the country’s capital Monrovia. The investment will be used to launch two additional clinics in the city and increase capacity to serve over 50,000 patients a year – from 15,000 currently.  

TLG, which was launched in 2009 by a former Goldman Sachs executive director, has made investments totalling about US$75m to date in emerging markets – the majority of which are businesses in sub-Saharan Africa catering to the emerging consumer class. It initially invested in Snapper Hill Clinic in 2010 when it acquired a 40% stake.

According to Saad Sheikh, TLG’s senior investment professional, a handful of private clinics cater to Monrovia’s wealthy elite, but the lower- to middle-income grouping remains largely underserviced. In fact, the low penetration of medical personnel and centres is one of the reasons why the country was badly hit during the Ebola outbreak between 2014 and 2016.

Today, even after the Ebola crisis has been restrained, Sheikh says there are less than six quality medical centres in Monrovia.

“So what you are actually looking at is a population that has roughly about 70,000 [people] to one doctor being served – which means it is a very underserved market. And there is a lot of potential to bring in not only better services, but business opportunities as well.”

TLG’s recent investment in Snapper Hill Clinic is backed by a guarantee from the Medical Credit Fund (MCF), a social impact fund initiated by PharmAccess International which aims to help healthcare businesses in sub-Saharan Africa access affordable finance to improve their services. TLG’s main focus will be to grow Snapper Hill Clinic’s medical facilities from one to three by the end of 2017, before looking at expanding its services beyond Monrovia and even Liberia.

“So the idea of this investment is to expand the existing business in Liberia, and the next step would be to increase the service offering and probably potentially take it outside of Liberia as well,” notes Sheikh.

“We want to see it becoming one of the best healthcare facilities – not only in Liberia, but across western Africa.”