Altor Fund III has signed an agreement with Apotekets Omstrukturerings AB to acquire Cluster 1 and 8 from Apoteket AB, in total over 200 pharmacies. The acquired pharmacies will form the new Swedish pharmacy retail chain Apotek Hjärtat. Apotek Hjärtat will from the outset be the largest independent pharmacy retail chain in Sweden.
The Swedish parliament voted on the 29th of April 2009 to open up the 38 year old pharmacy monopoly. The ambitions are, among others, to increase availability to pharmaceuticals, improve service offering and service diversity, achieve lower total cost of pharmaceuticals for the benefit of the consumer and the public. Altor’s newly founded Apotek Hjärtat is one of the new companies that will make this possible. Anders Nyberg, with over 20 years experience from leading executive positions within Swedish retailing, most recently as deputy CEO of ICA, has been appointed as CEO of Apotek Hjärtat. Jostein Lønberg, with a central role during the Norwegian pharmacy market deregulation as procurement director and marketing director in the leading pharmacy chain Apotek1, has been appointed deputy CEO.
The acquisition of over 200 pharmacies puts Apotek Hjärtat in a strong market position from the start, with a clear ambition to grow faster than the market as a whole.
– There has been a relatively poor availability to pharmacy services in Sweden and we see a strong opportunity to expand the business within Apotek Hjärtat. Our ambition is to build the leading Swedish pharmacy retail chain in terms of competence, quality of advice, product offering, and operational efficiency. This investment fits well within our long term investment mandate, says Fredrik Strömholm, partner of Altor Equity Partners AB.
The board of directors is being formed, and currently includes Knut Faremo – founder of Norgesgruppen, Fredrik Strömholm – partner of Altor Equity Partners AB and board member of Ferrosan, Nimbus, Åkers, Q-Matic and Carnegie as well as earlier board member of ACO Hud and Nycomed, and Stefan Linder – partner of Altor Equity Partners AB and chairman of Euro Cater as well as a board member of Byggmax, Dustin and Meyn. Apotek Hjärtat has attracted a set of exclusive advisors that will work together with the management team and the board – among others Åke Hallman – former CEO of Apoteket AB and President of the Swedish Competition Authority, Gunnar Alvan – most recently President of Swedish Medical Products Agency, Dag Johannesson – former Chief legal councel of Apoteket AB and board member of Oy Tamro AB, and Steinar Stokke – former advisor to Apoteket AB and CEO of Apokjeden AS.
– We are pleased to be able to attract such competence to the board of directors and the advisory team of Apotek Hjärtat. This will be a very valuable component in achieving our ambition to develop the leading Swedish pharmacy chain, says Stefan Linder, partner of Altor Equity Partners AB.