Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Boots’ boss is still upbeat

The billionaire boss of Alliance Boots today described trading as “relatively resilient” after first half revenues rose by 11.3% on a year earlier.

Executive chairman Stefano Pessina, who led a £11.1bn takeover of the business last year, added that its financial position was strong after long-term funding arrangements were put in place prior to the banking crisis.

In the UK health and beauty business, like-for-like retail revenues rose 0.5% in the six months to June 30, helped by the launch of new products under the No7 cosmetics brand and the roll-out of new store formats.

The strongest growth came from the company's pharmaceutical wholesale business, which grew overall revenues by 17.3% and by 3.6% on a equivalent basis to a year earlier.

Despite the weak outlook for consumer spending, Boots said it was well positioned for the Christmas trading period.

And it pointed out that more than three quarters of its revenues came from health related activities, the majority of which is prescription medicines.

It said: “We expect demand for medicines to continue to grow in both the short and long term, with health and well-being continuing as key priorities for both individuals and governments.”

Mr Pessina, who joined forces with private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts on the takeover, added: “The business is on track and there remains a great deal of potential to unlock value from our leading brands and market positions.”

Alliance Boots, which was formed from the merger of Boots and Alliance UniChem two years ago, employs more than 110,000 staff in over 20 countries.

It has 370 pharmaceutical wholesale warehouses delivering to around 135,000 pharmacies, health centres and hospitals.