Israeli drugstore chain Super-Pharm is selling its share (51%) in a Chinese drugstore chain after five years of operation.
According to CEO Lior Reitblatt, "The activity sold was in the western part of the country, in China's poor region, but now we're looking into a new partnership in the chain in the country's eastern and developed area."
As revealed by Yedioth Ahronoth, Super-Pharm was forced to relinquish its control of the Chinese drugstore chain after the Chinese authorities changed the law, determining that a foreign company cannot control a retail chain with more than 30 stores across the country.
Super-Pharm filed an appeal with the authorities over the definition of a foreign company, which was rejected.
Super-Pharm began operating in China in 2006, when it purchased 51% of the shares of Ensure, which operated 37 pharmacies in the western Guizhou region, after receiving permission to control the company as a foreign investor.
Together with its local partners, Super-Pharm began developing the chain, which included 87 stores until the sale, 10 of them in the Israeli Super-Pharm format. The Chinese activity's growth rate was about 30% a year, and in 2010 the chain's sales in China totaled $50 million.
According to Reitblatt, "Super-Pharm aspires to expand and open a drugstore chain in Shanghai and the eastern part, which has a higher socio-demographic class. We were required to dilute our holding of the company.
"Because our partners in Ensure were not interested in expanding the chain beyond the region, we decided to sell our share and embark on a new road."
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