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UPDATED: Rowlands snaps up 30 Lloydspharmacy branches in Scotland

Rowlands Pharmacy has acquired 30 Lloydspharmacy branches in Scotland in what it has called a "significant investment in growing our network north of the border".

Rowlands Pharmacy's managing director Nigel Swift today (May 24) said he was "delighted" that the chain's portfolio in Scotland had "expanded significantly" thanks to the addition of 30 branches "formerly operated by Lloydspharmacy".

Rowlands now owns over 70 pharmacies in Scotland that "will form part of the wider Numark network" in the country, he said. C+D has asked the pharmacy chain for the locations of its new branches.

Rowlands confirmed to C+D that staff transferring to Rowlands under the deal will be subject to TUPE regulations, which protect employees' rights when companies change hands.

Read more: Rowlands responds to speculation about sale of 79 branches

Mr Swift said the move marked a “significant investment in growing our network north of the border” that “further reinforces our presence in Scotland”. “We welcome our new colleagues into the Numark family," he said.

He added that Rowlands was “investing in Scotland” because it expects the Scottish government will “continue in the years ahead to recognise the critical role of community pharmacy at the beating heart of healthcare provision”.

But he warned that while the company “welcomes” an upcoming £645 million investment into English community pharmacy services, it “shares widely expressed concerns this may not be sufficient to halt the current rate of closures and mergers”.

 

 

Lloydspharmacy “selectively selling” branches – the latest

 

A Lloydspharmacy spokesperson reiterated to C+D that it is "selectively selling" some of its branches as part of a review of its estate.

The multiple is "pleased" that employees from the affected branches will be joining the Numark "family", they said.

They stressed that patients will not see a "change in the way they use their local pharmacy".

Read more: Rowlands on track to convert 70 ‘concept pharmacies’ by the end of the year

Meanwhile, independent pharmacy chains Davidson's Chemists and Kamsons Pharmacy have recently announced their acquisitions of five Lloydspharmacy branches apiece.

Earlier this month (May 15), C+D reported that Lloydspharmacy had decided to formally reject a claim for enhanced redundancy benefits in the latest stage of its dispute with former Sainsbury’s staff.

Read more: Lloydspharmacy confirms locations and dates of six Sainsbury's branch closures

It follows the multiple’s announcement earlier this year (January 17), revealed exclusively by C+D, that it will withdraw pharmacy services from all Sainsbury’s supermarkets over the course of this year.

Lloydspharmacy initially told C+D that whether stores would close or be sold would be determined on a “branch-by-branch basis”.

But on Monday (May 22), C+D reported that Lloydspharmacy had confirmed the locations of six of its branches in Sainsbury's supermarkets that are due to close, as well as the closure dates.

 

Lloydspharmacy share sale

 

Today (May 24), C+D reported that the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) had issued advice to its members that Lloydspharmacy intended to carry out a number of divestments in a “two-stage process”.

C+D understands that under this process, branches would first be transferred into a “newly created company termed a ‘New Co’” before being sold to a new owner through a share sale. TUPE process would "not ordinarily apply" to share sales, the union noted.

It is unclear how many branches may be affected by the share sale divestment process.

Read more:  PDA issues advice as Lloydspharmacy moves ahead with divestment process

C+D has also learned of a large number of companies listed on Companies House that are owned by Lloyds Pharmacy Limited and are each registered as a “dispensing chemist in specialised stores”. The companies, all of which were incorporated between November 2022 and May of this year, are named LP SD One up to LP SD Fifty-Three, and LP North One up to LP North Twenty-Five.

Lloydspharmacy declined to clarify whether these new vehicles will be used to sell the pharmacies in the divestment programme highlighted by the PDA.

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