Healthplus Debunks Purported Termination of Mgt Agreement


Lawyer faults attempted takeover by UK firm

By Peter Uzoho

A pharmaceutical retail outfit, Healthplus Limited has debunked the alleged termination of the management agreement between it and the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mrs. Olubukunola George.

This is coming as a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Femi Ojumu, has criticised the attempt by a United Kingdom private equity firm, Alta Semper Capital, to take over the pharmaceutical retail outfit, describing such move as immoral.

Healthplus stated this yesterday in a letter entitled: “RE: Termination of the Management Agreement between Healthplus Limited and Mrs. Olubukunola George, issued by its external solicitors, A. Muoka & CO and addressed to the authors of the purported letter and directors of the company, Afsane Jetha and Zachary Fond.

It said the purported termination of George’s role as the company’s chief executive officer were improper and without any vires and should be disregarded entirely.

The letter read: “Our attention has been drawn to the letter dated 25 September, 2020 with the above heading, signed by Messrs. Afsane Jetha and Zachary Fond as Directors of the Company purportedly terminating Mrs. Olubukunola George’s ‘role as the CEO of the Company pursuant to Clause 15 (1) of the Management Agreement dated 15 March 2018’.

“The said letter cited ‘the opinion expressed by a majority of the Board of Directors of HealthPlus Limited that certain actions taken by (her) with respect to the affairs of the Company constitute serious professional misconduct’ as the basis for the termination.

“In our capacity as Solicitors to the Company, we are constrained to point out that: We are aware that in May, 2020, Mrs. Olubukunola George instituted Suit No. FHC/L/CS/609/2020 – in which she has pending a Motion for Interlocutory Injunction seeking, inter alia, to restrain her removal as CEO.

Meanwhile, a Lagos-based lawyer, Ojumu, has criticised the attempt by a United Kingdom private equity firm, Alta Semper Capital, to take over the pharmaceutical retail outfit.

Ojumu in a statement issued on Lagos yesterday said the attempt has the potential of causing loss of jobs by staff of HealthPlus.

“I have to say it’s morally wrong. I have an interest in this matter, as HealthPlus has createsd direct and indirect employment for almost 1000 Nigerians.

“I also can’t see why foreign private equity investors will enege 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 expand its operations with funds from the foreign firm, which was to have 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 (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 chief executive officer.