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Will Bestway bid for LloydsPharmacy’s Sainsbury’s branches?


Will Bestway bid for LloydsPharmacy’s Sainsbury’s branches?

By Neil Trainis

Bestway Group’s decision to increase its stake in Sainsbury’s has led to speculation it is considering taking over some of the supermarket’s LloydsPharmacy branches.

A week after reportedly purchasing a 3.5 per cent in Sainsbury’s for £200 million, Bestway, which owns Well Pharmacy, increased its stake to 4.47 per cent this week.

The Group says it has invested more than £800 million in the UK pharmacy sector and there has been speculation in the grocery trade press from the likes of Grocery Gazette and Retail Gazette that it may be interested in acquiring some of the 237 LloydsPharmacy branches in Sainsbury’s that are to close.

Grocery Gazette said "some analysts believe Bestway may be looking to leverage its stake in Sainsbury’s into a wider collaboration across its wholesale business or pharmacy concessions."

A spokesperson for Bestway told Independent Community Pharmacist it is aware of media speculation but would not be commenting on it. However, they said it intended to hold its shares in Sainsbury’s “for investment purposes” and through that it looked “forward to supporting the executive management team.”

Bestway is the seventh largest family-owned business in the UK and has an annual turnover of around £4.5 billion. It has interests in the wholesale, pharmacy, real estate, cement and banking sectors and employs more than 28,000 employees in the UK, Pakistan and the Middle East.

LloydsPharmacy said it would withdraw all its branches from Sainsbury’s this year “in response to changing market conditions.”


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