Thursday, July 24, 2008

McKesson move for Uniprix could affect Shoppers more that Jean Coutu

From the Financial Post:
The newspaper La Presse has cited rumours that McKesson Corp., a distributor to Canadian and U.S. pharmacies, is buying Uniprix Inc., a banner group for 400 independent pharmacies in Quebec. Should McKesson buy Uniprix, says BMO Nesbitt Burns analyst David Hartley in a note to clients, it may have a bigger impact on Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. than The Jean Coutu Group Inc., given it could remove potential independent acquisition opportunities for an aggressively expanding Shoppers network of stores.

Mr. Hartley believes that McKesson - which recently bought Proxim, a 250-store banner group - may be motivated to buy the Uniprix banner in an effort to protect against losing distribution business to an expanding Shoppers and Jean Coutu Group. Quebec is a highly coveted market given the high number of scrips (prescriptions) dispensed versus the rest of the country, he says - approximately 90,000 per drug store annually, on average, versus approximately 40,000. ...more

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