Tamer Group: A Vision for the Future


Historic Saudi healthcare firm Tamer Group has transitioned from a distributor into one of the country’s leading fully-fledged pharmaceutical companies since the 1990s, aided in large part by strategic partnerships with leading Japanese firms. With the family-owned firm seeking further progression, Chairman and Managing Partner Aymen Tamer highlights his vision for the company’s future.


“A perfectly clear vision is never achievable in such a fast-moving environment,” admits Tamer. “However, we will continue to invest across healthcare, prestige products, and fast-moving consumer goods with a particular focus on digitalisation, precision medicine, and a more holistic overall service offering.”


Distributors will have to continually reinvent themselves to provide new services and solutions geared to current market realities

Ayman Tamer, Tamer Group


In what is a highly competitive Saudi pharma distribution field, Tamer is keen to note the importance of differentiation. “The distribution industry in Saudi is moving from exclusive to non-exclusive representation, with distributors becoming more closely linked to their customers than their suppliers. Moreover, given the extreme consolidation that has been seen, with the Top 10 players now holding an 85 percent market share, distributors will have to continually reinvent themselves to provide new services and solutions geared to current market realities.”


Part of this reinvention comes in the form of digital solutions. “E-commerce will be at the forefront of this new reality and Tamer Group recently concluded a major acquisition in the field of more than USD 100 million,” proclaims Tamer. “This is one of the Group’s largest-ever single investments and will be supplemented by further investments into the Saudi economy of over SAR one billion (USD 270 million) in e-commerce, PPP, etc…over the next five years.”


He continues, “Another strategic investment we have made is in localization. A JV between Tamer Group and Mölnlycke, the global leader in wound care & operating room supplies, to manufacture Customized Procedural Trays used in operating rooms (ORs). We are already importing such trays, but the move to produce them locally will lead to quicker turnaround times and achieve self-sufficiency. The use of these trays give surgeons more control, saves time, creates less waste, and leads to better hygiene compared to other products. In Europe, a significant time saving (40-55%) have been gained through implementing custom procedure trays for surgical procedure in operating room and we want to help bring these same high standards to Saudi.”


This level of investment does, however, require a rational approach, moving away from lesser performing areas. “Tamer Group is constantly in divestiture mode,” states Tamer. “We have not let the group grow branches that are so sick that they need to be cut off and no extreme divestitures need to be made, but we are constantly consolidating and rationalising. As the market faces consolidation, consumers engage in first choice brands, the trade carries out category rationalization’ on the shelves and stick more closely to trusted brands; we as a company need to continually trim off nonperforming business.”


With proposals afoot to add in even more non-family members to the company’s board of directors and a sustainable succession plan in place, Tamer is optimistic about the future of both his family’s company and his country. “I am really excited about the future of Saudi, especially the healthcare industry, and I welcome more investment in this field,” he concludes. “We at Tamer Group are here and ready to help in any way needed.”


Read the full interview with Ayman Tamer here

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