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UPDATE 1-S.Africa's Dis-Chem to buy Medicare Health, take stakes in two software firms

(Adds details on deals, background)

Dec 21 (Reuters) - South African drug-store chain Dis-Chem Pharmacies said on Monday it would take stakes in two software firms and had signed a deal to buy healthcare group Medicare Health for 282 million rand ($19.13 million) to expand its business.

The acquisition of Medicare Health gives Dis-Chem control of a company that generated revenue of about 1 billion rand for the year ended February and expands its network coverage to 411 pharmacy clinics, it said.

The company also said it would buy an 87.5% stake in clinical management software firm Healthforce and a 25% stake in healthcare solutions provider Kaelo Holdings.

The Kaelo and Healthforce investments “place Dis-Chem at the heart of primary healthcare consumption, at a price point that a growing number of South Africans can start to afford,” it said.

Healthforce is operated in close to 440 clinic rooms across South Africa, the company added.

Dis-Chem last month reported higher half-year earnings, but withheld an interim dividend to conserve cash to fund acquisitions. ($1 = 14.7377 rand) (Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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