Bank of Ireland and Fitzgerald Power have launched a report providing an overview of the pharmacy transactions market and analysing key trends over the last two years. The report revealed that 2018 was a busy year in the *pharmacy transactions market with sales of pharmacies in 2018 (33) almost double those in 2014 (17). Average deal values remained steady year on year, ranging from between €1million to €1.5million, with the greatest demand for opportunities in Dublin reflected in the prices achieved.
Regionally Munster was the busiest for pharmacy sales (21) over the two year period with Connacht / Ulster showing less activity (12) due to fewer available opportunities and a reduced number of active consolidators in those regions.
Speaking about the report, Hilary Coates, Head of Healthcare at Bank of Ireland said, “Despite industry predictions since 2014 that the number of retail pharmacies would reduce, they have risen by 7.3% from 1,737 in 2014 to 1,864 retail pharmacies in 2018 (IPS register Jan 2019).
“Looking ahead, I expect it will be a busy consolidation market in 2019. Though the role of the independent pharmacist will continue to be significant, they will have to look at their business models and see how can they increase efficiencies while driving down costs with initiatives such as group buying and shared services models in areas like HR, recruitment and online sales.
“Bank of Ireland is the leading lender to the healthcare sector as a result of our proven financial capabilities, combined with comprehensive sectoral expertise, and our priority continues to be in supporting the success of pharmacy businesses nationwide.”
Stuart Fitzgerald, Director, Fitzgerald Power commented, “2018 was a busy year in the pharmacy transactions market. Investors, lenders and operators remain optimistic about the sector’s prospects despite challenges to pharmacy profitability from on-going Reference Pricing adjustments, changing HSE reimbursement policies and wage inflation.
“2019 is going to be a busy year and maybe even more active than 2018. Our pipeline is very strong, and we are seeing a higher number of pharmacies coming to market. Consolidators are active, and it remains a good time for vendors to exit.”
Speaking about the findings Sharen McCabe, Managing Director, McCabe Pharmacy Group added, “There will possibly be more sellers than buyers as we go through the uncertainty about mature income and there are concerns around not just reimbursement levels but also the regulatory costs. We are interested in scaling our business to provide patient-centric healthcare services; we want to build around what we think is the demand for accessible, fast, cost-effective primary healthcare, drug dispensing and point of care services.
* Report findings are based on the single pharmacy transactions only and exclude group transactions such as Carlyle Cardinal Ireland’s purchase of Sam McCauley Chemist in 2017 and Uniphar’s proposed purchase of Bradley in 2018. These would have ramped up 2017 and 2018 figures further.