The venture capital manager Five Arrows Principal Investments, the private investment branch of the Rothschild group, has decided to land in the Spanish pharmaceutical sector and its investee Hygie31 has bought Ecoceutics, a Catalan consultancy that has 156 associated pharmacies that invoice 200 million annually euros.
Hygie31 operates in France mainly with six own brands, the main Pharmacie Lafayette, and has 700 associated pharmacies, 52 opticians, 24 medical supply stores and two online parapharmacy websites. Global turnover reaches 1,700 million euros, 27% more than the previous year, due to the purchase of the online firm Cocooncenter and its merger with the company Gener.
With the purchase of Ecoceutics, the group wants to "create the first chain of pharmacies in Spain," company sources explained. The group plans to maintain the current management team, led by Valero Pallàs.
Ecoceutics was established in 2005, with 27 shareholders. It has 18 employees and now focuses on technology consulting, point of sale design and supply of parapharmacy products. The company has spent several years with stagnant sales of around three million euros, and although it continues to be profitable, it faces competition from the large pharmaceutical distribution companies that in recent years have diversified their activity into consulting and management services, provided by companies such as Ecoceutics. The company was also initially a drug purchasing center, an activity that it stopped in 2019 in a sector in which moving large volumes is essential to be cost competitive.
Francesc Vilà, president of Ecoceutics, highlighted "the prospects for growth and development generated by the merger with Hygie31", since they plan to use the pharmacy commercial concept that the group has developed in France to "strengthen the attractiveness of our brand and develop new offers and services that will increase the competitiveness of our pharmacies”.
With Hygie31, the group's pharmacies "will be able to benefit from purchasing synergies", which is highly relevant in parapharmacy products, to achieve a wide range of products and affordable prices.
Hervé Jouves, president of Hygie31, explained in a statement that the purchase confirms its "will to develop a true European healthcare ecosystem" and to be a "relevant player" in health and wellness, especially in the retail pharmacy market.