September 2001 issue Pharmacy Today magazine
NOW IT'S PHARMALLIANCE
Unichem shareholders have voted to change the name of the group's holding company to Pharmalliance NZ Ltd, paving the way for corporate ownership of pharmacies should deregulation changes allow.
The move also puts a structure in place that would comfortably accommodate the merging of pharmacy brands now under Zuellig/Unichem ownership.
There is the possibility that Pharmalliance could become the holding company for more than 350 pharmacies, representing around 55% of the pharmacy OTC market.
And further down the track, Unichem chief executive Tim Roper doesn't rule out the possibility of a listing on the stock exchange.
At this stage it's only theory, but with deregulation, Tim Roper sees Pharmalliance having corporate ownership of pharmacies. On the group's current turnover of $300 million, a profit of $30 million would be feasible if there was company owenrship rather than individual ownership.
And goodwill on pharmacies could increase with the removal of a defined buyer market, which Tim Roper believes depresses the value of pharmacies.
Zuellig already has 100% ownership of Vantage and the former Sigma brands - Amcal, Guardian, Pharmacycare and PPS. It also has a 40% shareholding in Pharmalliance (formerly Unichem Chemists Ltd) - Unichem, Dispensary First and Pharmacy Management Ltd (the company that manages the three-way agreement between Unichem, Zuellig and ProCare, and Unichem's Woolworths' contracts).
The Life group is still owned by Life shareholders, but Pharmalliance has an option to purchase within three years.
A taskforce was established four months ago to look at ways of merging some of the retail brands, especially where logical similarities exist.
Zuellig is currently presenting Vantage, Pharmacy care and PPS members with a merger offer. A new Vantage group is planned, offering three levels of membership - fully branded, non branded (with some direct marketing campaigns), and non-branded (with instore promotional campaigns).
A roadshow will get underway shortly outlining the advantages of the new group which combines "the best of all three existing brands" plus some new
This new group will kick off its promotional programme next year with the potential to have around 200 members.