NANJING, China, Sept. 17, 2012 (ANTARA/PRNewswire) -- Alliance Boots ( ), under the terms of a strategic alliance agreement signed today, announces that it will acquire a 12% stake in Nanjing Pharmaceutical Company Limited ( ), through a private placement, for a total consideration of approximately EUR56 million (RMB560 million). On completion of the transaction, which is subject to various regulatory approvals, Alliance Boots will be the second largest shareholder in Nanjing Pharmaceutical Company Limited with Board and operational management representation.

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Nanjing Pharmaceutical Company Limited, which is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, is the fifth largest pharmaceutical wholesaler in China with sales of around EUR2 billion (RMB20 billion) in 2011. It has a strong market position in its home province of Jiangsu operating distribution centres in 12 cities across eight provinces and one autonomous region. Its largest shareholder is Nanjing Pharmaceutical Group Limited.

The strategic alliance agreement was signed by Stefano Pessina, Executive Chairman, Alliance Boots, and Zhou Yaoping, Chairman, Nanjing Pharmaceutical Company Limited, after being greeted by Yang Weize, Secretary of Nanjing Municipal CPC Committee. The official ceremony, which took place in the city of Nanjing, was held in the presence of Ji Jianye, Mayor of the Nanjing Municipal Government.

Alliance Boots first entered the Chinese pharmaceutical distribution market in 2008 through its Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals Corporation joint venture, which operates in complementary geographies and continues its successful development.

Stefano Pessina commented: "We are delighted to be partnering with such an established player in the Chinese pharmaceutical market and believe there is huge potential in working together to create a great healthcare distribution network. This agreement builds on the success we have already had in China and further strengthens our commitment to the country as well as our willingness to play an active role in the evolution of the market in partnership with the authorities and key players. We believe that this strategic investment marks an important step in our long term development in Asia. "

Zhou Yaoping, Chairman of Nanjing Pharmaceutical, said: "The cooperation with Alliance Boots is of great significance in the context of the slowing global economy and China's medical and healthcare reforms. By introducing Alliance Boots advanced supply chain management technology and experience, Nanjing Pharmaceutical will be able to improve its management practices, achieve greater performance, and help China's medical industry reach global standards, as well as support the pharmaceutical sector in establishing a vibrant social responsibility."

Editor's notes:

Alliance Boots is a leading international, pharmacy-led health and beauty group delivering a range of products and services to customers. Working in close partnership with manufacturers and pharmacists, we are committed to improving health in the local communities we serve and helping our customers and patients to look and feel their best. Our focus is on growing our two core businesses: pharmacy-led health and beauty retailing and pharmaceutical wholesaling and distribution.

Alliance Boots has a presence in more than 25* countries and employs over 116,000* people. Alliance Boots has pharmacy-led health and beauty retail businesses in 11* countries and operates more than 3,330* health and beauty retail stores, of which just over 3,200* have a pharmacy. In addition, Alliance Boots has around 625* optical practices, of which around 185* operate on a franchise basis. Our pharmaceutical wholesale businesses supply medicines, other healthcare products and related services to more than 170,000* pharmacies, doctors, health centres and hospitals from over 370* distribution centres in 21* countries. In June 2012, Alliance Boots announced that it had entered into a strategic partnership with Walgreen Co., the largest drug store chain in the US, to create the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.

* Figures are approximations as at 31 March 2012 and include associates and joint ventures.

For further information, please contact:

Group Communications, Alliance Boots
Yves Romestan / Laura Vergani / Katie Johnson / Julie Longton: Tel: +44 (0) 207-980-8585

RLM Finsbury (UK media contacts)
Katie Lang / Claire Scicluna: Tel: +44 (0) 207-251-3801

Kreab Gavin Anderson (Asia / China media contacts)
Richard Barton (Tel: +852-9301-2056) / Yang Yang (Tel: +135-0127-4482)

Editor: PR Wire
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