Puregold’s Co acquires Cebu drug store chain

Privately held firm used in purchase

By: Doris C. Dumlao, March 4th, 2013 02:46 AM

Filipino-Chinese businessman Lucio Co has entered the pharmaceutical distribution business with the acquisition of Cebu-based drug store chain ThreeSixty Pharmacy, allowing the fast-growing retailing magnate to get a foothold in the Visayas.

Co sealed the ThreeSixty Pharmacy acquisition very recently, said two Inquirer sources familiar with the transaction. However, the new acquisition was made through a tightly held company and not through any of the publicly listed companies affiliated with the Cos—Puregold Price Club Inc. and Alcorn Gold Resources Corp.

One industry source privy to the transaction said the acquisition would be Co’s ticket to new retailing formats, which in the future could include not just pharmaceutical chains but also hardware shops.

During Puregold’s investor briefing last Friday, several analysts asked whether the company was interested in getting into the drug store business following rumors that it was Puregold that had acquired the Cebu drug store chain.

Puregold investor relations chief Jimmy Perez said during the briefing that Puregold had gone public as a supermarket company and would likely stick to this core competence. He said there was room for consolidation among smaller grocery operators and these would be what Puregold would consider for acquisition.

“We think that we are not yet competent in that line of business so we don’t want the listed company to be experimenting with something we’re not familiar with,” Puregold president Leonardo Dayao said in an interview after the briefing. He shrugged off speculation that Puregold would diversify into the drug store business any time soon.

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