Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 6°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Retail: Co-operative Group sells pharmacy business to Bestway for £620m

09:52 18 July 2014

A branch of the Co-operative Group

A branch of the Co-operative Group's pharmacy business which has been sold to Bestway in a deal valued at £620m.

Archant

The Co-operative Group has sold its pharmacy stores for £620million in a deal with the company behind convenience shop brand Best-one.

shares

The struggling mutual will use the proceeds from Bestway Group’s purchase of Britain’s third largest pharmacy chain on paying down debt.

Bestway, which is the UK’s seventh largest family-owned business, will have the right to operate under the Co-operative Pharmacy brand for a transitional period of 12 months, once the deal completes later this year.

The pharmacy business has more than 770 branches in the UK with 7,000 staff, and last year generated revenues of £760m and profits of £33m.

It was put up for sale in February by then Co-op chief executive Euan Sutherland as it was not considered a core part of the business.

The business has a substantial presence in East Anglia, including three pharmacies in Lowestoft and others in Carlton Colville, Diss, Halstead, Haverhill and Saffron Walden.

However, the deal does not cover the eight pharmacy stores operated in Ipswich, Felixstowe, Saxmundham and Stowmarket by the East of England Co-operative Society which is a separate organisation from the Co-operative Group and continues to trade successfully.

Bestway’s wholesale business is the second largest in the UK with annual sales of more than £2.4billion, serving 125,000 independent retailers and caterers from 64 warehouses. Its retail club business has more than 4,000 members consisting of 1,113 Best-one stores and 2,895 Xtra Local retailers.

Founded more than 40 years ago by Sir Anwar Pervez, the business is the second largest cement manufacturer in Pakistan, where it also has a substantial bank branch network.

Following the pharmacy acquisition, Bestway will have annual turnover of around £3.4bn and a workforce of more than 32,600 people, including 11,900 in the UK.

Chief executive Zameer Choudrey said there was potential to grow the pharmacy business organically and through future acquisitions.

He added: “The Co-operative Pharmacy is a strong, competitive business, operating in a sector where demographic trends show an increasing demand for healthcare services amongst the wider community.”

Besides foods stores, other businesses in the Co-op Group include funeralcare, legal services, travel and general insurance. Its banking arm, which is now under the control of bondholders as part of a refinancing to fill a £1.5bn hole in its balance sheet, drove the group to an overall loss of £2.5bn for the last year.

Interim chief executive Richard Pennycook said the deal would enable the group to invest in its core retail and consumer-facing businesses.

He added: “Bestway is acquiring an excellent pharmacy business characterised by the quality and professionalism of colleagues and high levels of customer service.

“Bestway in return is an ideal owner, being a strong family-run group with a proven track-record of putting the needs of customers first.”

shares

1 comment

  • Just so that everyone knows, Bestway donate money to the Tory Party !, even more money for the wealthy tory shareholders !

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Sunday, July 20, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Paul Rous, of Bruisyard Hall, has launched a tech startup venture with Mark Pearson

A Suffolk entrepreneur has teamed up with a top technology investor, who made millions from a website he created with just £300, to help finance new ideas.

Jeremy Goulding, front, left, chief executive of Wheatley, is congratulated by Innovatioin Martlesham chair Ian Buxton on winning the first Innovationi Martlesham competition. Also pictured, from left, are Paul O'Brien of BT, Jane Bromley of Wheatley, Mike Ward of Wheatley and Mohamed Abdel-Maguid from University Campus Suffolk.

Software company Wheatley has been named winner of a new competition staged by Innovation Martlesham, the cluster of hi-tech companies based at BT’s Adastral Park research site, near Ipswich.

Suffolk cider and vinegar maker Aspall was named Business of the Year at last year's EADT Business Awards.  From left, Tom McGarry of EDF Energy, Barry Chevallier Guild of Aspall and Sarah Howard,  of SuffolkChamber.  	
Picture: Lucy Taylor

There is now less than a week to go to enter the 2015 East Anglian Daily Times Business Awards.

Total unemployment in the UK has reached a near seven year low, official figures showed today.
Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Unemployment in the UK has continued to fall and a record 31million people are in now work, according to the final labour market figures before the General Election.

The Nestle Purina plant in Sudbury.

KitKat, Nescafe and Shredded Wheat maker Nestlé said today that first quarter sales had been boosted by an earlier Easter, but with growth dented by currency changes after the Swiss central bank’s shock decision to lift a cap on the franc.

The B&Q store on the North Quay Retail Park in Lowestoft which is closing in January 2016. Picture: James Bass

DIY chain B&Q has announced its Lowestoft store will close at the start of next year, with reportedly 40 jobs being lost.

The team at Ipswich-based software company IJYI.

A start-up software business in Suffolk has secured a place on a Government panel allowing it to bid for the delivery of cloud technology services across the public sector.

Bury town centre on market day.

People are being asked for their views on Bury St Edmunds town centre to find out how it is performing and any improvements that can be made.

WH Smith today reported a strong first half for its travel stores.

WH Smith grew sales at its travel-based stores amid a surge in air passengers while its high street network saw a decline due to a tough books market, half-year results showed today.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages