The troubled Co-operative group has agreed a deal in which it will sell its pharmacy business for £620 million to the Bestway Group. The transaction is due to complete in October 2014, following the fulfillment of a number of required steps to separate the Pharmacy business from the Co-operative.
Bestway is UK’s second largest independent Cash & Carry operator and eighteenth largest privately owned company, started by Sir Anwar Pervez in London in 1976.
Today, the Bestway Group stands as the world’s seventh largest family-owned business with a turnover of £2.52billion.
The agreement follows a formal sale process initiated by the Co-operative reflecting its decision that the pharmacy business was not part of its future strategy.
Last year the Co-op bank discovered they had a £1.5billion gap in its finances. The net proceeds of the sale will be used to reduce the Cooperative’s debt and invest in its core businesses.
The Bestway Group stands as Pakistan’s second largest cement producer and joint owners of Pakistan’s second largest private bank with assets under management of just under US$10.3billion. United Bank Ltd (UBL) has a branch network of over 1,400 branches serving over five million customers.
With this new acquisition, Bestway will have an annual turnover of approximately £3.4 billion and a global workforce of more than 32,600 people, with over 11,900 people from the UK.
Bestway has built up a successful global business over 40 years by investing in and connecting with the communities it serves. The philanthropic arm of the group, the Bestway Foundation, annually donates 2.5 per cent of its post-tax profits to social projects in the countries in which it operates.
Zameer M. Choudrey, Bestway Group Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be bringing the Co-operative Pharmacy business into the Bestway family, adding to our growing and diverse business portfolio.
“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.
“We see great potential to grow the business organically and through future acquisitions.
“We always look to take a long-term approach and have a strong track record of successfully growing businesses that have previously been acquired within the group. We are confident that we will continue to do so with this business.”