CCPC requires binding commitments from Uniphar to acquire Sam McCauley Chemists

January 20, 2023

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has cleared, subject to a number of legally binding commitments, the proposed acquisition by Uniphar PLC (Uniphar) of sole control of LXV Remedies (M/22/049). LXV Remedies is the parent company of Sam McCauley Chemists Limited (Sam McCauley). Sam McCauley owns a group of 37 retail pharmacies located across Leinster, Munster and Ulster.

The proposed acquisition was notified to the CCPC in September 2022. The CCPC subsequently opened a Phase 1 investigation to establish whether the proposed transaction would result in a substantial lessening of competition for goods or services in the State.

During the investigation, the CCPC identified a number of potential concerns about competition should the proposed acquisition take place. These potential concerns related to the retail pharmacy sector in Counties Kildare, Meath and Wexford.

To address these potential concerns, Uniphar proposed to make a number of binding commitments to the CCPC. These include a commitment that Uniphar will divest three specific pharmacies, as going concerns, to a suitable purchaser or purchasers (who will be subject to CCPC approval). The three pharmacies are:

  • McHugh’s Allcare Pharmacy, Athy, County Kildare
  • Hickey’s Pharmacy, Abbey Road Medical Centre, Navan, County Meath
  • McCauley Health and Beauty Pharmacy, Bunclody, County Wexford

Uniphar has also committed not to carry out any act which may reasonably be expected to have a significant adverse impact on the value, management or competitiveness of the pharmacies before their sale, and not to acquire the pharmacies back for a period of time following their sale. To ensure compliance with these commitments, an independent monitoring trustee will be appointed.

Following the conclusion of its Phase 1 investigation and having taken into account the commitments given by Uniphar, the CCPC has determined that the proposed acquisition will not substantially lessen competition and, therefore, the proposed acquisition can be put into effect. The commitments form part of the basis of the CCPC’s determination to clear the proposed transaction, and so are legally binding on Uniphar.

The CCPC will publish its full determination on its website no later than 60 working days after the date of the determination and after allowing the parties the opportunity to request that confidential information be removed from the published version.

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