Clicks clears hurdle to run Netcare pharmacies

Clicks CEO David Kneale.
Clicks CEO David Kneale.

Cape Town – The Competition Tribunal announced on Thursday that it has approved – with conditions – the merger between Clicks and Netcare’s in-hospital “front shops”.

“Clicks will in due course assume control of all Medicross pharmacies and 45 front shops of the Netcare Hospital division,” Netcare said in a statement on Friday.

The merger excludes the dispensing of prescriptions in the hospital pharmacies, which will remain with Netcare Pharmacies operations, the Competition Tribunal said in a statement.

“The rationale for the transaction is to offer an enhanced retail service offering to both patients and consumers by affiliating the pharmacy and the front shops to an experienced retail provider such as Clicks,” said Netcare.

The approval comes five months after the companies entered into the agreement on June 8 2016.

"Netcare is continuously exploring ways to improve our service delivery,” said Netcare CEO Richard Friedland. “Affiliating the pharmacy and front shops to an experienced retail provider of Clicks’ stature will enable us to provide an enhanced retail offering to patients, consumers and other stakeholders."

Clicks will assume control of all Medicross pharmacies on December 1 2016 and the 45 retail front shops of the Netcare hospital division on February 1 2017.

"Our outsourcing agreement with Netcare will enable Clicks to expand its presence and make our pharmacy chain even more accessible and convenient to our customers,” said Clicks CEO David Kneale.

“As part of the implementation process the Medicross pharmacies and Netcare front shops will be rebranded to Clicks. This is a strategically important agreement for Clicks and we look forward to a long-term mutually beneficial partnership with Netcare."

Friedland and Kneale confirmed that specific staff members involved in Medicross and the retail front shops in the hospitals will be transferred to Clicks, on terms similar to their current conditions of employment.

Netcare and Medicross staff members indirectly affected will remain in the business on their current conditions of employment, thus confirming that there would be no loss of jobs as a result of the transaction.

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