A group of Scottish pharmacies looking for new acquisitions

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Archival photographs of the new one pound coin. Photograph by Colin Mearns December 14, 2017

By Scott Wright

WALTER Davidson & Sons said it remains on the lookout for acquisitions as new accounts show a drop in profits for the Blairgowrie-based pharmaceutical group.

The company, which trades as Davidsons Chemists, underlined its desire to continue to grow its portfolio by reporting an increase in turnover to nearly £52.8million from £46 £.9 million for the year ended 31 January.

It came amid “serious challenges” related to the pandemic and subsequent increases in operating costs and wages, the pharmacy group said. Pre-tax profits fell to £4.9m from £5.6m.

Administrators note in the accounts that the company acquired eight new pharmacies, growing its stock to more than 50 units, during the period, and say they are in the market for more deals.

“The two Dunblane pharmacies operated by Dunblane Healthcare joined us in June and we were particularly pleased to acquire the group of six pharmacies Newfield Dundonald Ltd in December,” the directors write. “The group now operates pharmacies in eight Scottish countries Health Council regions.

“The group reached a strategically important level of pharmacy ownership of 50 this financial year, but the group continues to seek new acquisitions, contracts and properties.

“Further capital investments are planned for 2022 with the renewal of the pharmacy’s IT equipment and a major redevelopment of the pharmacy incorporating a distribution and hub-and-spoke model.”

Accounts show the group employed an average of 471 people in the period, up from 440 the previous year, while overall labor costs fell from £8.5million to £10.3million. Directors’ pay has risen from £343,754 to £558,489, with the earnings of the highest paid director rising from £106,758 to £208,754, excluding pension contributions.

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