Decision on Uniphar takeover of company behind CarePlus chain due in December

A probe into Uniphar’s tie-up with rival pharmacy group NaviCorp is expected to be completed by December.

NaviCorp operates the CarePlus and StayWell chains, as well as Thera Pharmaceuticals, TouchPlus Technologies and Pembroke Healthcare.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) said on Thursday that it was still investigating the proposed merger but had issued an “assessment” setting out its preliminary views.

The news comes just days after Dublin and London-listed Uniphar announced it was to buy leading pharmacy retailer McCauley,

Market estimates put the sale price at about €50m. The deal would add 37 retail outlets to Uniphar’s expanding footprint in the Irish consumer market, giving it a 7pc market share.

Uniphar reported nearly €1bn in revenue for the first six months of the year, up nearly 3pc on 2021, and increased earnings by 18pc. The company also announced a dividend for shareholders.

The company, which had an initial public offering in 2018, is on track to double its earnings over a five-year period ending next year, according to chief executive Ger Rabbette.

The CCPC investigates mergers where the combined Irish turnover of the firms involved amounts to at least €60m – and at least €10m for the individual firms.

Under the merger, notified to the CCPC in December 2021, Uniphar would acquire sole control of NaviCorp, which operates the CarePlus and StayWell chains, as well as Thera Pharmaceuticals, TouchPlus Technologies and Pembroke Healthcare.

The CCPC carried out a preliminary investigation of the merger but said in April that a full investigation was needed to see if it “could lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the State”.

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