News this morning that Manchester based Co-operative Group has announced that it is to sell its Pharmacy business to Bestway Group for £620 million

The Cooperative says the sale is due to complete in October 2014, and
follows its decision that the Pharmacy business was not part of its future strategy.

The net proceeds, say the group, will be used to reduce The Co-operative’s debt and invest in its core businesses across its Retail and Consumer Services divisions.

Bestway is the seventh largest family-owned business and includes the UK’s second largest independent wholesaler.Its retail club business is the largest in the UK with over 4,000 members.

Richard Pennycook, Interim Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative Group, said:

“The successful sale of our Pharmacy business is an important move for The Co-operative Group. The proceeds will enable The Co-operative to reduce debt and invest in our business and is part of the focused delivery of our clear strategic plans and priorities.

The troubled 150-year-old supermarkets-to-funerals Co-op group lost control of its bank and slumped to a 2.5 billion pound loss last year.Its problems stem from an ill-fated 2009 takeover of the Britannia building society, which saddled it with a portfolio of risky property loans during the financial crisis.

Last year it was also hit with the scandal surrounding the drug taking activities of its former chairman Paul Flowers.


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