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Eight northern pharmacies up for sale as owners enter administration

Eight pharmacies in the Northcare Limited group are to be sold after the company entered into administration, the appointed administrators have announced.

Steven Ross and Allan Kelly of specialist business advisory firm FRP were last week (August 14) appointed as joint administrators to the company and some of its subsidiaries, according to a press statement.

The pharmacy group is now up for sale, with Northcare Limited, its subsidiary Medway Limited and five further subsidiaries that act as holding companies for the group’s eight pharmacies affected, it said.

The chain’s pharmacies are all based across Yorkshire and the north east of England and will remain open and trading throughout the administration process, under the “control” of the administrators, the statement confirmed.

Read more: ‘Four-figure loss’: Pharmacy contractors rage at atorvastatin crisis

The eight pharmacies and their subsidiaries are:

  • Norfolk Park Pharmacy, 229 Park Grange Road, Sheffield, owned by Chrysalis Sales Limited
  • Newham Pharmacy, 9-10 High Newham Court, Hardwick Estate, owned by ME Cronin Ltd
  • A.D. Phillips, 21a Church Street, Trimdon Station, owned by Phillips Chemists Limited
  • Phillips Chemist, 11 Luke Street, Trimdon Station, owned by Phillips Chemists Limited
  • Phillips & Wright Pharmacies, 9 Alhambra Station, Stockton, owned by Phillips Chemists Limited
  • Spinks the Chemist, Albert Terrace, Beverley, North Humberside, owned by Spinks the Chemist Limited
  • Team Valley Pharmacy, 379 Princesway, Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead, owned by Spinks the Chemist Limited
  • Wolsingham Pharmacy, 12 Market Place, Wolsingham, owned by Wolsingham Pharmacy Limited

 

“Financial challenges” 

 

According to the administrators, Northcare faced “financial challenges in recent months” that caused cashflow problems and led to trouble servicing its liabilities.

Mr Ross said that a “protective structure” created by the administrators was “vital” to ensuring that the pharmacies could stay open and continue to deliver “essential services”.

“We are committed to engaging with suppliers, customers and health and care providers, including the NHS, to ensure a continuity of service while we prepare for a sale process that can support the long-term future of the pharmacies,” he added.

Read more: Ask an accountant: Top tips for managing your cashflow

Those with an interest in purchasing the pharmacies should “come forward”, he said.

The administrators are in the process of appointing a “specialist agent” to market the pharmacies, according to the statement.

All 76 staff members across the business will be kept on during the administration and marketing process to sell the business, it confirmed.

 

Closure woes

 

It comes as financial difficulties have been at the forefront of the discussion in community pharmacy. 

Mass closures of 237 Sainsbury’s Lloydspharmacy branches that concluded in June and the news that 300 Boots branches are to close by the end of the year have raised further concerns across the sector about a funding shortfall.

Read more: 'Our funding is rotten': Sector needs £1.1bn now, warns AIMp chief

In July, Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) chief executive Dr Leyla Hannbeck told C+D that the community pharmacy sector needed an immediate £1.1 billion cash injection in order to stave off closures.

And earlier this month, C+D released the results of a poll that showed most pharmacy contractors were facing losses of over £1,000 in July for dispensing one drug alone - atorvastatin.

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