Zur Rose reports ups and downs with COVID-19

Zur Rose reports ups and downs with COVID-19
Zur Rose expects the COVID-19 pandemic to lead to considerably more rapid acceptance of mail-order distribution for medicines and digital healthcare services

20 April 2020 - Deborah Wilkes

Switzerland’s Zur Rose Group – the e-commerce pharmacy that owns DocMorris – reported sales up by 11.6% in the first quarter of 2020. The company said the COVID-19 pandemic had boosted its mail-order business but curbed demand at the Swiss physician business.

Zur Rose said it expected “considerably more rapid acceptance of mail-order distribution for medicines and digital healthcare services as a result of the global crisis”.

In the first quarter of 2020, Zur Rose reported sales of CHF427 million (USD440 million) including the Medpex business. This represented a rise of 15.9% in local currencies compared to the same period a year earlier.

Performance in Germany

Sales at Zur Rose’s German business increased by 15.5% in local currencies to CHF264 million.

During 2018, Zur Rose expanded its presence in Germany by acquiring the e-commerce business of Medpex in a deal worth around EUR120 million (USD135 million) plus earnouts (click here to read the News story).

Zur Rose pointed out that the German federal government was forging ahead with digitalisation. A draft law passed at the beginning of April stated that doctors’ prescriptions should only be issued in electronic form from 1 April 2022, said the company, adding the law should be approved by the Bundestag before the summer break and come into effect after being agreed by the Federal Council in autumn 2020.

Meanwhile, sales at Zur Rose's Switzerland business increased by 14.2% to CHF151 million in the first quarter of 2020.

Commenting on the Swiss physician business, Zur Rose said a decree from the Federal Council stating that only urgent interventions and treatments could be performed had caused many physicians and practices to reduce their operations sharply or even announce short-time working.

Sales by the Rest of Europe business, which covers Spain and France, grew by 63.9% in local currency terms to CHF12.4 million.

Zur Rose recently placed CHF175 million convertible bonds to fund growth initiatives. The funds would be used to accelerate the launch of e-prescription solutions in Germany and European initiatives to broaden the customer base, said the company, as well as to provide flexibility in dealing with the considerable rise in demand for mail-order distribution since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

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