Zur Rose expands in Europe with Promofarma

Zur Rose expands in Europe with Promofarma
Promofarma is expanding outside Spain

2 August 2018 - Deborah Wilkes

Online pharmacy group Zur Rose, which owns DocMorris, is expanding in Europe by acquiring the Spanish managed e-commerce platform Promofarma.

Walter Oberhänsli, chief executive officer of Switzerland's Zur Rose, said Promofarma was the "Spanish online leader in the consumer health category".

Oberhänsli pointed out the deal would give Zur Rose a platform technology that would enable the company to "pursue its international expansion" and "roll out a new business model by partnering with pharmacies and health stores across Europe".

Zur Rose commented that acquiring Promofarma would build up its technology capabilities in Barcelona, which it described as one of Europe's top five technology and innovation hubs.

The Swiss company noted that Promofarma, which was founded in 2012, was the "leading marketplace in Spain for consumer health, beauty and personal care products commonly sold in pharmacies".

Zur Rose said Promofarma had reported sales of around EUR19 million (USD22 million) in 2017. This represented a rise of around 50% compared to 2016, noted the company, adding the strong growth would continue in 2018.

Promofarma operates an e-commerce marketplace that connects consumers to health, beauty and personal care vendors, most of them pharmacies.

Low investment cost for pharmacies

Zur Rose said Promofarma provided bricks-and-mortar pharmacies access to e-commerce at a low investment cost. "It provides tens of thousands of mid- and high-end consumer health products in one single place, at a competitive price and with a next-day delivery service," added the company, "but neither holding inventory nor operating warehouses."

The business had more than 50,000 consumer health products listed on its platform, pointed out Zur Rose, and sold products from more than 3,500 brands. These products were sourced and shipped by more than 500 partners, noted the company, adding that the partners included pharmaceutical companies and health stores as well as pharmacies.

Commenting on international expansion, Zur Rose said Promofarma had started expanding outside Spain and already served 20 countries across Europe.

David Masó and Adrià Carulla, Promofarma's founders, said they had set out to "build the best online shopping experience when buying health-related products at the European level" and "enable independent pharmacies, trusted sellers and brands to sell online to the new digital shopper in a profitable way".

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Zur Rose said the transaction should be completed in mid September 2018.

Zur Rose's financial results

Zur Rose, which describes itself as "Europe's leading online pharmacy", reported sales up by 29.9% to CHF298 million (USD300 million) in the first quarter of 2018. Excluding acquisitions and at constant currencies, organic growth was 11.0%.

The company's German business generated 57.1% of sales, with the remaining 42.9% coming from its home market of Switzerland.

Zur Rose said sales at its German business had increased by 39.0% at constant currencies to CHF170 million, following the acquisitions of online pharmacies Eurapon and Vitalsana.

OTC sales by the German business were up by 75.9% at constant currencies to CHF93.2 million. Zur Rose highlighted the "strong organic growth", "massive acquisition of new customers", and consolidation of Eurapon and Vitalsana.

In May 2018, Zur Rose announced that it was strengthening its presence in Germany through a "strategic collaboration" with omnichannel pharmacy apo-rot (click here to read the News story).

Sales at Zur Rose's Swiss business increased by 9.3% to CHF128 million in the first quarter of 2018.

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