Bestway will unveil a new brand name for the Co-operative Pharmacy early next year, following its acquisition of the chain.
The UK-based food wholesaler group took formal control of the business yesterday (October 6) after buying it for £620 million in July. The group has the right to operate the 771 pharmacies under the Co-operative branding for a transitional period of 12 months, but had already begun "developing and testing" branding with the aim of confirming a new name by April 2015, it said.
The Co-operative Pharmacy's headquarters are currently located with the Co-operative Group at One Angel Square, Manchester, and Bestway said it had identified a number of possible sites in the city for the pharmacy business to move to.
Bestway chief executive Zameer Choudrey said he was "delighted" that the "thriving business" would remain in Manchester. This would ensure "minimum disruption" for the Co-operative Pharmacy's management, he stressed.
Mr Zameer said he had been impressed by the Co-operative Pharmacy, which had continued to "perform strongly" and "operate ahead of budget" since the deal was announced. "At the time, we said our approach was to support the existing management to drive the business forward and this is precisely what we are doing," he said.
To buy the pharmacies, Bestway had received financial support from a number of banks including the Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays. Bestway had been "significantly oversubscribed" with funds to buy the pharmacies, which showed the enthusiasm among financiers for the deal, Mr Choudrey added.
With the addition of the Co-operative pharmacies, Bestway will have an annual turnover of approximately £3.6 billion and a global workforce of more than 33,000 people, including more than 11,900 in the UK.
Read C+D's guide to the Bestway deal.