Uniphar’s Sam McCauley deal gets go ahead

Drugs group Uniphar has agreed to sell three pharmacies in counties Kildare, Meath and Wexford in order to secure regulatory approval for its takeover of the 37-outlet Sam McCauley chain.

he Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has cleared the reputed €50m deal, but subject to legally binding commitments.

The news comes a week after the same competition regulator blocked stock-market listed Uniphar’s planned takeover of Navi Group, a pharmacy solutions business, on the grounds the proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition. 

The Sam McCauley deal was given the go-ahead on Friday, subject to conditions including the sale of three of what will be the combined group’s pharmacies. 

That was after the CCPC said it identified a number of potential concerns about competition related to the retail pharmacy sector in counties Kildare, Meath and Wexford.

To address those potential concerns, Uniphar proposed to make a number of binding commitments including to divest as going concerns three specific pharmacies: McHugh’s Allcare Pharmacy, Athy, Co Kildare; Hickey’s Pharmacy, Abbey Road Medical Centre, Navan, Co Meath; and McCauley Health and Beauty Pharmacy, Bunclody, Co Wexford.

Uniphar has also committed not to carry out any act which may reasonably be expected to have a significant adverse impact on the value, management or competitiveness of the pharmacies before their sale, and not to acquire the pharmacies back for a period of time following their sale.

To ensure compliance with these commitments, an independent monitoring trustee will be appointed.

Uniphar, led by chief executive Ger Rabbette, employs more than 2,900 people across Ireland, UK, Germany, Switzerland and the US, as well as the Benelux and Nordics regions.


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