Bestway Group is a diversified multinational family-owned business with annualised turnover in excess of £4.5bn
By: Pramod Thomas
One of Britain’s leading pharmacists has announced the acquisition of Lexon UK Holdings and Asurex Limited, a family-owned pharmaceutical wholesaler with a presence in England, Scotland and Ireland.
Bestway Group subsidiary Well Pharmacy said the deal would benefit both community pharmacists and patients.
Lexon has five depots in Redditch, Leeds, Durham, East Kilbride and Dublin serving 3,000 retail pharmacy customers as well as community pharmacies across the Midlands, northwest and the northeast of England.
Bestway Group CFO Haider Choudrey said, “Well Pharmacy had been searching for a target to expand its footprint and complement its growth trajectory and we are confident that Lexon fits this criterion.”
Lexon, which has been in operation for more than 25 years, also operates 42 community pharmacies (currently trading as Knights Pharmacy). It is also a specialist developer and manufacturer of generic pharmaceuticals and is a data and solutions provider to pharmacy.
Seb Hobbs, CEO Well Pharmacy, said, “These are incredibly challenging times for community pharmacy, so we’re really pleased to be able to have an opportunity to show our commitment to the sector, now and into the future.”
He confirmed the 1,200-strong team at Lexon and Asurex will join Well and the broader Bestway group.
Anup Sodha, who remains managing director at Lexon, said, “Both businesses, being independent and family-owned, share similar cultural values and have the common goal of providing exceptional service and value to pharmacy, our patients and our supply chain.”
Anand Sodha will remain within the business to ensure the smooth integration of all the Norchem Pharmacies into the Well group, while Nimesh Sodha will continue to lead Key Pharmaceuticals.
Anup said of the changes: “We’d like to thank Pritesh Sonpal, Nitin Sodha and Pankaj Sodha, who have all decided that this is the time for them to step away from the business. They have all made a considerable impact on our success as a business and will be missed.”
Nitin Sodha, who arrived in the UK from Kenya as a teenager, set up Knights Pharmacy from a porta-cabin in Redditch in 1984. Along with his brothers Pankaj and Anup and nephew Pritesh Sonpal, Nitin set up Lexon UK, one the country’s largest shortline wholesalers based in the Midlands. Lexon grew from an initial investment in the wholesaling business in 1995, when the brothers organised local chemists in the area to buy as a combined entity.
Knights’s acquisition included Norchem Healthcare in 2015; Vittoria Healthcare in 2017 and Pearns Pharmacies Limited, which operated 20 pharmacies in south Wales, in 2021.
Last year, Knights Pharmacy bought Cecil Jones, an independent pharmacy business comprising four pharmacies across south Wales.
The Sodha family’s wealth was estimated to be £140 million in Eastern Eye’s annual Asian Rich List 2022.
Well Pharmacy’s acquisition will be notified to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Both parties have proactively engaged with the CMA in pre-notification discussions.
Well is the UK’s largest independent pharmacy chain in the UK, employing nearly 7,000 people and providing over 72million prescriptions each year across 750 pharmacies.
Bestway Group is a diversified multinational family-owned business with annualised turnover in excess of £4.5 billion; with a customer base of over 12 million customers.