(Bloomberg) --

Flying Doctors Nigeria Ltd., a medical emergency and air-ambulance company, plans to raise money to set up a $1 billion fund to invest in health care across Africa.

“We are raising in three tranches within four years,” Chief Executive Officer Ola Brown said in an interview in Lagos on Friday. “The first $200 million by the end of first quarter next year, and then $300 million and $500 million. We want to start investing across Africa.”

The funds will be managed by the Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company which already has a number of health care technology companies in its portfolio that are now worth an estimated $200 million. The companies include MDaas Global, LifeStore Pharmacy and Helium health and operate in diagnostics, pharmaceuticals and telemedicine.

Founded 10 years ago, the company found itself in the thick of the battle against the spread of coronavirus, quickly setting up mobile centers with capacity to conduct 100 tests a day in eight of the country’s 36 states in response to both government and private requests.

“We have been investing in Nigeria, we wanted to start investing across Africa and that’s the purpose of opening up to external investors and to now invest in more companies,” she said.

Flying doctors targets clients in government, oil and gas, mining and construction with its air ambulance services, according to Brown.

To cut the costs of its air ambulance services, the company formed a partnership with Nigerian airline, Arik Air, to build health care compartments in their planes to help cut evacuation costs, Brown said. Flying Doctors currently moves about 20 patients every month, she said.

Only 30% of the company’s ambulance services are done within Nigeria, with a majority coming from other countries in the region such as Gabon, Central Africa Republic, Congo and Burkina Faso, Brown said.

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