Dawa Group rebrands to Dawa Life Sciences as it seeks ambitious regional growth

KENYA – Dawa Group has rebranded into Dawa Life Sciences, incorporating Dawa Pharmaceuticals, Dawa Animal Health and Dawa Chemicals with one big ambition to provide better quality life for all.

With a footprint in 11 countries, revenues of US$60 million in 2020 from over 1,000 product lines, and supply capacity of over 110 million packs of medication, Dawa Group has a vision to become a reference for pharmaceuticals in Africa.

Dawa Group has its origins in Medisel Kenya Limited which, in 1994, was founded as a pharmaceutical trading business in Thika, Kenya and has now become a leading manufacturer and supplier of pharmaceuticals in East Africa.

The company stands strong today with a team of 750, 3 manufacturing facilities, a presence in 25 markets, over 25 years of existence and the provision of 100 million treatments in Africa each year.

As a business, they aim to have at least one of their products in every pharmacy and fulfil the African continent’s pharmaceutical needs.

Kenya’s prescription pharmaceuticals market is worth over US$500 million and was expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8% in 2020.

Kenya is currently the largest producer of pharmaceutical products in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region, supplying about 50% of the regions’ market, to which Dawa is a key player.

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry in Africa projected 9.8% annual growth rate between 2010 & 2020 as Africa’s market was valued at US$40 billion to US$65 billion in 2020 with GDP rising to US$3.9 Trillion.

This rebranding has incorporated Dawa Group, Dawa Limited, Medisel Kenya Limited and Kel Chemicals under Dawa Life Sciences umbrella to improve the products delivered in the pharmaceuticals, animal health and chemicals divisions.

Medisel Kenya Limited and Dawa Limited pharmaceuticals merged to form Dawa Pharmaceuticals, while Medisel Kenya Limited transitioned to Dawa Animal Health and Kel Chemicals now transitions to DawaChemicals.

Dawa Group delivers health products (human pharmaceutical and animal health) through three plants and warehouses (two in Nairobi and the other in Thika), two depots in Nairobi and Mombasa and two international liaison offices in Shanghai and New Delhi.

The company has grown steadily over the years. In 2004, the state-owned business Dawa Pharmaceuticals, which had been under receivership, became an attractive target for acquisition and a potential catalyzer for Medisel’s expansion into manufacturing.

Medisel acquired Dawa Pharmaceuticals, an originally joint state-run pharma business between the Governments of Kenya and Yugoslavia. The transaction involved the full purchase of Dawa’s assets and the more well-established product ranges of the company.

Medisel’s revenue between 2005 and 2014 grew at an annual rate of 26% reaching Ksh1.51 billion ($17 million). Overall, Dawa Group recorded an annual top line growth rate of 29% between 2005 and 2014, with revenues reaching Ksh2.86 billion ($32 million).

Dawa Limited, the manufacturing business, contributed 34% of total revenue after just 12 months’ post-acquisition. By 2014, Dawa Limited accounted for 47% of total group revenue.

The growth of the manufacturing business was attributed to management’s decision to build its own brands. The development of brands meant that Dawa Group controlled the intellectual property associated with its brands.

This strategic decision, coupled with the export focus of Dawa Limited, ushered Dawa Group into new markets including Uganda, Zambia, Malawi and Rwanda.

Branded products, to date, continue to propel expansion and growth opportunities for Dawa Group with steps already taken for Dawa to expand into the West African market.

Over the years, the pharmaceutical market in Kenya has become very competitive with about 30 local manufacturers. To consolidate its gains in this competitive market, Dawa Group has built strong relationships with key opinion leaders.

Strategic relationship building, coupled with targeted marketing for wholesalers and pharmacies, as well as medical practitioners have supported growth.

Dawa Group is bullish with ambitious targets for the next 10 years, hoping to be present in more markets and to achieve revenue growth of over 10% a year to reach $200 million top line by 2030.

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