SUPERDRUG TO CHANGE HANDS
Byline: James Fallon
LONDON — Kruidvat Beheer BV of The Netherlands has finally gotten its hands on Superdrug of the U.K., turning the Dutch chain into Europe’s third-largest drugstore chain.
Superdrug’s parent company Kingfisher PLC agreed earlier this week to sell the chain to Kruidvat for $392 million in cash, including inter-company debt.
Kruidvat revealed this spring that it was in talks with Kingfisher about buying Superdrug, but the talks broke down over price because Kingfisher reportedly was looking for bids of over $420 million. Kingfisher instead announced plans to spin off Superdrug and its other subsidiary Woolworths into a separate company listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Talks between the two companies were revived several weeks ago. Kingfisher said it will receive an additional $42 million from Kruidvat at some point through the sale of some properties it owns. However, the British group will take a book loss of $77 million on the sale of Superdrug.
Superdrug is Britain’s second-largest health and beauty retailer behind Boots the Chemist. It operates 706 stores and had retail profits of $49 million on sales of $1.2 billion in the year ended Feb. 3.
The family-owned Kruidvat operates drugstores and perfumeries in The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Its largest market is The Netherlands, where it has about 500 stores. The group had sales last year of $1.35 billion.
The acquisition of Superdrug will move Kruidvat up the European ranking of health and beauty retailers into third position behind Boots, and Schlecker of Germany. The company has contracted to continue to supply Kingfisher’s Woolworths stores with Superdrug’s private label products.