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Alliance Boots Profit Gains 13% on Beauty Products, Wholesale

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May 17 (Bloomberg) -- Alliance Boots Ltd., the owner of the U.K.’s largest drugstore chain, said full-year profit rose 13 percent on increased sales of its own-branded beauty products and wholesale medicines.

Operating profit before some items climbed to 1.07 billion pounds ($1.54 billion) in the year through March 2010, the KKR & Co. unit said in a statement today. Net income increased to 608 million pounds, from 101 million pounds a year earlier.

Nottingham, England-based Boots is extending sales of its No. 7 skincare range into Italy and Spain via a partnership with Procter & Gamble Co., and plans to open drugstores in Sweden with local pharmacists. The retailer will continue to grow “organically and through acquisitions,” billionaire Chairman Stefano Pessina said in the statement.

“Although we are planning for consumer demand across Europe to remain subdued, we are confident about our prospects for the year ahead,” said Chief Executive Officer Andy Hornby. Hornby, a former CEO of HBOS Plc, joined in July.

Sales at stores open at least a year increased 3 percent at its Boots chain in the U.K., the company said. Revenue gained 8.9 percent to 18.7 billion pounds.

Net debt at the end of March 2010 was reduced to 8.39 billion pounds from 9.03 billion a year earlier.

Alliance Boots was taken private by Pessina and KKR for 11.1 billion pounds in 2007, the biggest private-equity deal in European history.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Shannon in London at sshannon4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net.

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