Robinsons Retail acquires Rose Pharmacy

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Rose Pharmacy Talisay branch opening -- ROSE PHARMA FB PAGE

Gokongwei-led Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. is now the new owner of Cebu-based Rose Pharmacy.

On Friday, the retailer said its wholly owned subsidiary South Star Drug, Inc. signed a share purchase deal with Mulgrave Corp. B.V., a unit of Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings, Ltd., to fully acquire the famed Visayan drugstore chain.

It is a “very strategic” addition to the listed firm’s portfolio of drugstores, according to South Star Drug Managing Director David Goh.

“Together, we can leverage our scale and synergies to drive wider product assortment, better customer service and offer greater value to our customers across Philippines when they need it most,” he added.

Rose Pharmacy started as a family-run drugstore in 1952 until Dairy Farm bought less than half of the business in 2015, and fully acquired it in 2018. Last year, it recorded P9 billion in net sales from a network of more than 300 stores in Visayas and Mindanao.

The company’s founder John L. Gokongwei, Jr. had admired the drugstore chain for its “strong brand reputation in Visayas and Mindanao,” said daughter and Robinsons Retail President Robina Y. Gokongwei-Pe. The Gokongwei patriarch also started his business in Cebu.

The company’s chief said the deal woud improve its strategic partnership with Dairy Farm, strengthening their position in the Philippine multi-format retailing. The two companies first teamed up for the acquisition of Rustan Supercenters, Inc. two years ago.

“Our acquisition of Rose Pharmacy yet again offers ripe opportunities for innovation through strategic synergies,” Ms. Gokongwei-Pe said.

South Star Drug is the oldest drugstore chain in the Philippines. It was founded in 1937 by the Dy family of Naga City.

In 2012, it entered into a partnership with the Gokongweis’ retail group. Its store count now stands at more than 500.

On Friday, shares in Robinsons Retail fell by 2.6% to close at P65.50 apiece. – Adam J. Ang