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Business news, 02.02.2004 16:33

St.Petersburg pharmacy chain invades Moscow

Natur Produkt pharmacy St. Petersburg pharmacy chain has done something regional players don't usually do: it has acquired a foothold in Moscow.

With the purchase this week of the smaller Moscow chain Narodnaya Apteka, Natur Produkt will be the country's absolute leader in terms of number of outlets, with 153 pharmacies in 20 regions. Founded in 1993 in St. Petersburg, Natur Produkt is now a holding with companies in many Russian cities and abroad. It is 40 percent owned by EBRD investment funds managed by the Quadriga and Russia Partners companies.

In addition to running one of the country's largest pharmacy chains, Natur Produkt manufactures medicines and biologically active agents at plants in France and the Netherlands and distributes pharmaceuticals. According to internal reports, revenues stand at about $100 million per year with 27 percent of this sum coming from the pharmacies.

Natur Produkt chairman of the board Sergei Nizovtsev said his company acquired the Narodnaya Apteka chain in Moscow for $2.5 million. Narodnaya Apteka, a relatively small pharmacy chain by Moscow standards, consists of nine retail outlets. Nizovtsev said the newly acquired pharmacies will be renovated during the next three months to reflect the Natur Produkt style. However, the Moscow stores will not have the open-space set up which is the latest rage with pharmacy retailers. Nizovtsev said the existing layout of the Moscow stores allows only for the traditional display-and-counter selling method.

With these nine shops as a launching pad, the company plans to boost their number to 20 and is shooting for overall revenues of between $5 million and $6 million in Moscow.

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