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Walgreen Boots finally settles GuoDa China investment

Walgreens Boots Alliance has finally achieved regulatory approvals for its Chinese pharmacy acquisition – more than six months after announcing the deal.

The US-headquartered drugstore giant has bought a 40 per cent stake in Sinopharm Holding GuoDa Drugstores Co, better known as simply GuoDa, which it describes as a leading retail pharmacy chain in China. It will invest about US$416 million in capital to acquire the stake.

“We believe GuoDa holds a strong position in the sector, and as a global pharmacy-led health and beauty enterprise, we are well positioned to support its further growth ambition,” said Walgreen Boots executive vice chairman and CEO Stefano Pessina.

“We are delighted that we have received regulatory approvals and our investment agreement has now been completed.”

Walgreen Boots believes it can build the GuoDa business by sharing its international best practices and pharmacy expertise.

“We believe there is great potential in working together to play a transforming role in the evolving Chinese retail pharmacy market.”

Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Shanghai, GuoDa operates more than 3800 retail pharmacies across around 70 cities, and employs close to 20,000 people.

Both Walgreen Boots and GuoDa believe recent healthcare reform undertaken by the Chinese government present “unprecedented opportunities” to expand the business nationwide.

Last December, at the time he announced the planned investment, Pessina said after a 10-year presence of Walgreen Boots in China, it was an exciting opportunity to invest in the nation’s retail pharmacy sector.

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