Bestway completes Co-Op Pharmacy deal

Bestway Group  today (October 6) took formal control of the Co-operative Group’s Pharmacy Features > Business, following July’s announcement of the £620m deal.

The Group worked with JPMorgan and Nomura, supported by Barclays, RBS and its other relationship banks to secure the financing for the acquisition, which sees Bestway taking control of the UK’s third-biggest pharmacy chain.

Bestway, which has the right to operate under The Co-operative Pharmacy brand for a transitional period of 12 months, has begun developing and testing possible new brands for the business. It said today that it expects to confirm the new name for the business before the end of first quarter 2015.

In the meantime, the Group has also identified a number of possible sites in Manchester for the new HQ of the pharmacy business.

Following this (and with the Group’s recent acquisition of Lafarge Pakistan Cement), Bestway will now have an annual turnover of approximately £3.6bn and a global workforce of 33,000 people, with over 11,900 people in the UK. It is now the UK’s eighteenth largest privately owned company and seventh largest family-owned business; it also operates the country’s second-biggest wholesaler.

Zameer M. Choudrey, Bestway Group CEO, said: “We are delighted to have brought The Co-operative Pharmacy business into the Bestway family, adding an exciting fourth pillar to our growing and diverse business portfolio. Since announcing the transaction, we have continued to be impressed by the business which has carried on performing strongly, operating ahead of budget. At the time, we said our approach was to support the existing management to drive the business forward, and this is precisely what we are doing, ensuring minimum disruption. To this effect, I am also delighted that this thriving business will remain based in Manchester.”

“We were also pleased with the positive response to our fundraising. In the end our Group Corporate facility of £725m was well received by the market. The fact that our credit was significantly oversubscribed really showed the City’s enthusiasm for our strategy, as well as their trust and confidence in the Group and its strong prospects for long-term, profitable growth. We truly value the commitment and dedication all our partners have demonstrated throughout the process. They played a big role in helping Bestway Group to succeed in acquiring the Pharmacy business.”

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