Alliance Boots Gains From Walgreens Tie-Up as Profit Increases

Alliance Boots Holdings Ltd., owner of the U.K.’s largest drugstore chain, said annual earnings rose 6.1 percent helped by gains from a tie-up with Walgreen Co.

The company’s share of cost and revenue benefits resulting from last year’s alliance with the biggest U.S. drugstore operator was 14 million pounds ($21 million) in the year ended March 31, Alliance Boots said today in a statement.

Since allying in August 2012, the U.K. and U.S. companies have seconded staff to a joint venture based in Bern, Switzerland to help deliver so-called synergies from the tie-up, Alliance Boots said. The retailers have forecast $1 billion of benefits by 2016 from sharing best practices in store design, customer loyalty programs and selling online.

Alliance Boots, in which Walgreens acquired a 45 percent stake last year, said so-called trading profit climbed to 1.27 billion pounds ($1.9 billion) in the year ended March 31. Sales declined 2.6 percent to 22.4 billion pounds because of sterling’s strength against currencies such as the euro.

The retailer said it is focusing on entering new markets and expanding its presence in existing territories.

“We continue to be confident about our prospects and ability to pursue profitable growth, organically, from our synergy programmes and through international expansion,” Executive Chairman Stefano Pessina said in the statement.

The retailer reduced its net borrowings to 5.89 billion pounds from 7.02 billion pounds a year earlier.