Ayala unit invests in North Luzon-based pharma firm St. Joseph Drug

Ayala unit invests in North Luzon-based pharma firm St. Joseph Drug

AYALA CORP., through its unit Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc. (AC Health), has acquired a minority stake in pharmaceutical company St. Joseph Drug, the listed company announced on Thursday.

In a regulatory filing, Ayala Corp. said that AC Health’s pharmaceutical arm, AHCHI Pharma Ventures, Inc. (APV), signed definitive agreements with St. Joseph Drug (Joleco Resources, Inc.) on Dec. 15 for the acquisition of a “significant” minority stake.

APV serves as the listed company’s vehicle for its pharmaceutical businesses, which include Generika Drugstore and the pharmaceutical importation and distribution arms, Medica and MedEthix.

The company did not disclose both the transaction amount and the percentage of the stake to be acquired.

“This is a well-thought-out acquisition that gives AC Health access to a promising regional pharmacy chain. The investment could drive expansion in provincial markets and aligns with AC Health’s broader strategy of growing its pharmacy platform,” China Bank Capital Corp. Managing Director Juan Paolo E. Colet said in a Viber message.

This move would allow AC Health to expand its pharmaceutical footprint in the Philippines, Mr. Colet said. 

“I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of AC Health eventually taking majority control of St Joseph Drug,” he added. 

“The addition of St. Joseph Drug to our portfolio is in line with our commitment to enhance accessibility and affordability of healthcare for Filipinos nationwide… We will greatly enhance synergies and efficiencies within our pharmacy platform to further improve our products and services throughout our AC Health network,” AC Health President and Chief Executive Officer Paolo Maximo F. Borromeo said.

Established in 1958, St. Joseph Drug is a Luzon-based company that has more than 112 stores in North Luzon.

“Adding St. Joseph Drug to its portfolio expands AC Health’s reach in North Luzon, a region with historically limited access to quality and affordable medication. This could lead to increased market share and revenue in the near term,” Globalinks Securities and Stocks, Inc. Head of Sales Trading Toby Allan C. Arce said in a Viber message.

With the acquisition  AC Health can also optimize St. Joseph Drug’s existing distribution network and potentially reduce operational costs, Mr. Arce said.

“This could lead to lower drug prices for consumers and improve profitability. St. Joseph Drug brings its own established brand and loyal customer base to AC Health. This can solidify AC Health’s position as a leading healthcare provider in the Philippines,” Mr. Arce added.

“The acquisition could fuel further innovation and growth in AC Health’s pharma business, opening doors for new ventures and services,” he said.

he local bourse on Thursday, shares in the company closed P17 or  2.35% lower at P705 each. — Ashley Erika O. Jose