Layer 1

Co-operative pharmacies sold to Bestway in £620m deal

New owner Bestway will be able to operate under the Co-operative Pharmacy brand for a year after the acquisition

October will see the transfer of the 782 Co-operative pharmacies to the Bestway Group, described by Co-operative Group interim chief Richard Pennycook as a "strong family business" and an ideal owner

The Co-operative Group will sell its pharmacies to a UK-based food wholesaler group for £620 million, it announced today.


The 771 Co-operative pharmacies are due to transfer to the Bestway Group in October.


Bestway comprises the UK's second largest independent food wholesaler, a real estate portfolio and Pakistan-based cement manufacturer and private bank.  The group donates 2.5 per cent of its profits to social projects through the Bestway foundation.


Co-operative Group interim chief executive Richard Pennycook said Bestway was an ideal owner for the pharmacy chain because it was a "strong family business" with a "proven track record of putting the needs of customers first".


"I am pleased that the agreement we have reached with Bestway reflects the quality of the business and the high level of interest from a number of bidders," he said. Bidders have previously been reported to include Alliance Boots and Lloydspharmacy parent company Celesio.


Bestway chief executive Zameer Choudrey said the group saw "great potential to grow [the pharmacy] business organically and through future acquisitions".


With the addition of the Co-operative pharmacies, Bestway will have an annual turnover of approximately £3.4 billion and a global workforce of more than 32,600 people, with more than 11,900 people in the UK.


Bestway can operate under the Co-operative Pharmacy brand for a year after the acquisition and the Co-operative Group will provide certain services to the pharmacy business for up to 18 months under a transitional services agreement.

What impact do you think Bestway will have on community pharmacy?
We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information

Dave Downham, Manager

Dear Mr Editor

I'm all for free speech, expression of opinion etc, but the level of explicit racism is wholly unacceptable. Could you please let us know why this isn't being moderated?


Dave Downham, Manager

I wonder who were the 3 who gave me a negative vote? Nick Griffin yes, but I don't know the other 2.

Farmer Giles, Work for a pharmaceutical company

Mr Patel has used the term ISIS

Why hasn't he been banned ?

Disillusioned Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

One rule for one. On a different topic a while a go my comment (which was a statement of fact) that a particular name was not an English name got removed and yet the blatant zenophobia from the person with the non-english name was left for all to see.

How High?, Community pharmacist

Well as an employee I think it's good news on the face of it.
We've been tired of being associated with the current shambles known as Co-operative Group and being one of the very few parts actually making some money.
We're embarrassed to be a part of that and have to put up with endless jokes about the pharmacy group being used to supply the exec & board with their recreational drugs.....

We've heard the phrase "business as usual" hundreds of times in the past few weeks and months and morale has been very low whilst a blackout has been in place and speculation and rumour mongering have taken hold.

Yesterday morale lifted for the first time in moths. OK we keep the same management structure which I'm still sure will get shaken up but I'd sooner have my lot then Boots or Lloyds..........

Those of you knocking Bestways. Have a look at some of the top retailers in the UK and see how working conditions for their employees abroad differ from those of Sir Anwar Pervez's.
Just be glad you live in a free country where poverty is (relatively) unknown, working conditions, pay etc etc are regulated and monitored, a country where people can afford to strike (although I don't agree with that option in any circumstance).
You have to compare apples with apples.

Time will tell if the doom sayers have it right, but for now after months of cutbacks and embarrassment things are feeling a little lighter on the shop floor.

As for those saying it's underpriced etc. You're all wrong.
The price of something is what somebody will pay, not what you think it's worth.
The board made a decision to sell as a complete business if possible. I'm sure that shrunk the shortlist as not too many people have over £600m in their back pockets at the moment but it must make the process easier than carving it up and selling bits and pieces in a hundred different deals, all of which require a lot of input and many of which will fall through.

I haven't always agreed with whats been done but I have to say I feel John Nuttall and his exec have actually got a pretty good deal.

Halal Butcher, Academic pharmacist

I said all along "Mr Mohammed" has put his bid in.

Compare this family run business to Jhoots family run as an example. I can see it going downhill. All the old racist farts will not wana go to "Pakistani" pharmacy. They'll go to Lloyds and Boots instead.

I think its a bad bad move personally. Generally speaking, I am always correct FYI!

I'll stick to butchering chicken wings

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

These are some examples of Corporate games.

If Boots or Lloyds buy the whole group, they will have to answer many questions, go through lot of legal aspects, competition commission etc. etc. Instead, a completely unknown entity buys the group for an X amount and then over a period of time sell them in smaller chunks in return for a small (but big enough) margin of profit.

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

Hey Everyone. Have a great weekend. Gonna sit in the pub and have a nice cold chilled pint or nine!!!! Love this weather!!!!

Marc Borson, Community pharmacist

This is very interesting firstly they got a total bargain, last years TO was 760m and they paid 81.6% of it wow. Some of these sites are in medical centres which command a mega price. I wonder if the any freehold was included. For those thinking of selling get out now before value dip any further, I bet Co-Ops Pharmacys book value was much higher than this. Best way have done a great deal and shows how desperate they have been for the cash. They were probably the only bidders that could get the money and not be investigated by the OfT. Well done Best Way. we are also probably going to see a new pharmaceutical wholesaler enter the market. They have the infrastructure and know how. Very impressed, a great ending to a great game.

Disillusioned Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Turnover might have been £760m last year but profit was £28m, at that rate it's going to take him 22yrs just to get his money back!!

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

""This is very interesting firstly they got a total bargain, last years TO was 760m and they paid 81.6% of it wow""

""and shows how desperate they have been for the cash""

Exactly my point. Watch this space in coming months and you will see a whole new story, but that time it will be Bestway selling at a bigger premium !!

Pro Re Nata, Community pharmacist

guys guys guys. it could be could have taken a bite...

Nalin Shah, Community pharmacist

growth in turnover will come from re- formulating layout in bigger premises to convenience store format with in store bakery,lottery tickets , chilled meals., ..etc..., this is one of the only growth sector on the high street.

Chris ., Community pharmacist

This is fantastic news and I cannot wait to start working for them, it is going to be a fresh injection that is much needed in community pharmacy

O B, Community pharmacist


Er Ds, Superintendent

agree with rajiv Patel. cheers

Farmer Giles, Work for a pharmaceutical company

bacon sandwich...

Well they do say you are what you eat...!!! LOL

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

Farmer Giles, or is it Mustafa, anyway, I guess you are right. You are what you eat, I dread to think what you eat though LOL

Anyway, your other half mate Baber Yacouby, is wrong, I am really pleased that the Bestway lot have acquired COOP. Good luck to them. I am sure the Yacoubyies would all approve of this.

Baber Yaqub, Pharmacy

Rajive, get a pair of glasses or take a CPD in reading. The name is Baber Yaqub.

Ensure you take Vit B12 if you eat only veg and dhal.

I am pleased you agree it went to other than the run-of-the-mill groups who have a monopoly in the SE of England.

I am confident Mr Anwar's group will revitalise the Pharmacies and ensure their growth. We should all learn from the maestro.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Bad News. Those who know Bestway will realise bad times ahead for their Pharmacists

Middle Way, Community pharmacist

That is such a random statement, London Locum. Almost sounds like its designed to let peoples imaginations do the damage because you're not confident that the real story can.
Farmer Giles, saying LOL so frequently makes you sound like a thirteen year old facebook-er.

Farmer Giles, Work for a pharmaceutical company

Mr Patel thinks it's good news......

family run business need to make money too and it would be a fool to neglect MURs as its a service where funding is secure and no further financial out lay is required - to many it subsidises category M cuts...

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

Might be different if Mr Patel had to work for Bestway in the near future.

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

Any new entrant should be wished well and I hope it works out well for both them and their new staff. Hopefully, they will inject a fresh approach towards their biggest assets (their pharmacists) and get the most out of them.

Clive Hodgson, Community pharmacist

Only time will if Co-Op Pharmacists will be better off with the new owners.

However their lot will probably be much better than if some faceless Private Equity Group had taken over with a “sweat it, and then sell it” objective.

And most certainly better off than with Mssrs. Boots or Lloyds as owners.

Rajive Patel, Community pharmacist

Sounds like good news. A family run company acquiring the COOP pharmacy chain could mean more family based values spreading through the pharmacy chain. Better work conditions, better incentives, better training etc etc.

Whatever happen to the famous Mayberry & Co acquisitive vehicle, or for that matter the other group looking to acquire. Obviously blown out of the water with the most credible bid.

O B, Community pharmacist

A family run business that has built polluting cement factories in Pakistan destroying small villages, with disregard for villagers welfare. Look up Best way and Waullah cement factories.

Baber Yaqub, Pharmacy

Bitter sweet success does not go down too well in the shahs and patels of Pharmacy.
P Z B!

Farmer Giles, Work for a pharmaceutical company

Bitter sweet success does not go down too well in the shahs and patels of Pharmacy.
P Z B!

LOL PATELsssssssssssssss

for goodness sake.


Job of the week

Pre-registration Pharmacists
West London, Surrey, Hampshire, Ken
On application