South Africa's Imperial buys stake in Kenyan pharmaceutical distributor

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African logistics group Imperial Holdings will buy a 70 percent stake in Kenyan pharmaceutical distributor Surgipharm for $35 million in line with its African growth strategy, the company said on Wednesday.

Surgipharm, which is headquartered in Nairobi, is a leading distributor of pharmaceutical, medical, surgical and allied supplies in Kenya, with an annual turnover of about $70 million, the company said in a statement.

It gave no further details.

Imperial has made acquisitions in the pharmaceutical sector in Nigeria and the Netherlands.

"Surgipharm accelerates our industry presence and relationships with pharmaceutical principals on the African continent and provides an excellent platform for Imperial Logistics' future growth in other East African markets," Imperial Chief Executive Mark Lamberti said.

Imperial, which sells imported vehicles and runs a car rental agency in South Africa, has sold assets it considers non-core, including a short-term insurance unit as its aims to make the firm's business less vulnerable to swings in the value of its home market's volatile rand currency.

Shares in Imperial were up 3.47 percent at 185.40 rand at 1044 GMT.

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; editing by Susan Thomas)