MerryMart targets controlling stake in Mindanao pharmacy

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MERRYMART Consumer Corp. is planning to acquire a minimum 51% post-investment stake in ZC Ramthel Corp. or Cecile’s Pharmacy, which is said to be the biggest pharmacy chain in Zamboanga City in Mindanao.

“There are only very few drugstore chains in the Philippines that has been operational for decades and still remain to be the market leader and the top-of-mind brand in their respective market region,” MerryMart Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edgar J. Sia II said in a statement on Monday.

“Cecile’s Pharmacy chain is one of that select group that stood the test of time and we believe this acquisition will add great value to the MerryMart Group’s ecosystem,” he said.

Cecile’s Pharmacy was founded in 1964 and has been operating for 57 years. The Mindanao-based drugstore chain is said to profitable and posts earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).

It currently has 21 “strategically located” branches with more than 300 employees. In terms of managing operations, MerryMart said the team of Cecile’s Pharmacy will continue to lead operations of the pharmacy chain in tandem with MerryMart’s team.

“In addition to enhancing MerryMart’s trade volume in the pharmacy and prescription drug items, this transaction will bring significant improvement on cost efficiencies as MerryMart continues to strive to deliver better value to its customers and stakeholders,” said MerryMart Chief Financial Officer Hannah Yulo-Luccini.

The Sia-led company plans to continue with its organic expansion. MerryMart has a “Vision 2030” goal, aiming to have 1,200 branches nationwide generating P120-billion system-wide recurring consumer sales revenue.

“MerryMart will continue to keep its eyes open for M&A (mergers and acquisitions) opportunities in both the grocery and pharmacy space that would accelerate its growth to capitalize on the continued consolidation from traditional to modern retail in the Philippines,” Mr. Sia said.

The firm has several store formats such as the MerryMart Store, MerryMart Market, MerryMart Grocery, and MerryMart Wholesale and Dark Groceries.

MerryMart also recently launched a subsidiary that focuses on consumer technology, MM Consumer Technologies Corp., with MBOX Smart Lockers as the first in its portfolio.

Shares of MerryMart at the stock market declined by 0.63% or two centavos to close at P3.16 apiece. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte