PHOENIX group grows more strongly than market

Oliver Windholz, Chief Executive Officer PHOENIX groupHelmut Fischer, Chief Financial Officer PHOENIX groupFrank Große-Natrop, Executive Board Member Operations/Logistics PHOENIX groupStefan Herfeld, Executive Board Member Retail PHOENIX groupExecutive Board of the PHOENIX groupAs a wholesaler, the PHOENIX group ensures that the drugs and health products of pharmaceutical manufacturers are delivered to pharmacies and medical institutions both quickly and reliably.In 26 countries, the PHOENIX group is committed to support pharmacies and patients. Under the umbrella of the PHOENIX Pharmacy Partnership, pharmacy cooperation programmes such as “Valore Salute” in Italy support pharmacists in focusing on their customers.In Skårer, Norway, the PHOENIX group has implemented a new automation technology, with which the company achieves a high degree of volume utilisation and increases productivity significantly.
  • Record figures in 2016/17 with total operating performance at €30.2 billion and revenue at €24.4 billion
  • Expansion to over 2,000 own pharmacies throughout Europe
  • Largest European cooperation network for independent pharmacies
  • Launch of new category brand LIVSANE across Europe
  • Fiscal year 2017/18: planned growth in revenue in almost all markets as well as increase in EBITDA

The PHOENIX group has just ended a successful business year. In the fiscal year 2016/17 (31/01/17), total operating performance of the pan-European pharmaceutical trader rose by 6.1 per cent to a record figure of €30.2 billion. Total operating performance comprises revenue and handled volume. Group revenue increased by 5.1 per cent to €24.4 billion. The growth was thus more than twice as high as that of the overall European market (plus 2.3 per cent). This was primarily attributable to increases in revenue due to acquisitions such as Mediq Apotheken Nederland B.V. – one of the largest acquisitions in company history. Overall, revenue of the PHOENIX group rose throughout Europe, where the company was able to expand its market position in most of its 26 countries.

Oliver Windholz, Chief Executive Officer of PHOENIX, was confident about the current year at the presentation of the balance sheet in Mannheim: “For 2017/18, we again expect revenue growth above the European pharmaceutical markets and revenue increases in almost all markets despite a challenging market environment.” The EBITDA is also expected to rise substantially and exceed this year’s value. In the past year, the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA), before non-recurring items fell to €472.3 million. This was essentially owing to increased pressure on margins in Germany, and regulatory interventions in the United Kingdom, which PHOENIX counters with result optimisation measures. In the past fiscal year, the contribution to the result of the acquired company Mediq Apotheken Nederland B.V. was still characterised by one-off special items such as takeover and integration costs. The profit after tax for the period totalled €142.8 million.

Major growth projects in 2016/17 with investments and company acquisitions

“As a family business, we make decisions independently and pursue a long-term strategy in order to grow profitably through organic increases in revenue and targeted acquisitions”, explained Windholz. Pharmaceutical wholesale and own pharmacies contributed equally to the growth in the past year. In the wholesale business, PHOENIX invested in major projects in Norway, Denmark, and Germany to improve the efficiency of warehouse logistics. By opening a third logistics hub in Belgrade, the group expanded its range of services for the regional growth markets in Central and Eastern Europe. These services target the pharmaceutical industry and form part of the “All-in-One” service brand. At the same time, the company has created the largest network of pharmacy cooperation programmes in Europe, the PHOENIX Pharmacy Partnership, which aims to strengthen individual pharmacies on a local basis.

In the pharmacy business, PHOENIX has increased the number of its own pharmacies from 1,773 to 2,059 with the Apotek 1, BENU, and Rowlands Pharmacy brands. BENU has achieved nationwide coverage with its approximately 500 pharmacies as a result of the acquisition of Mediq in the Netherlands. This was followed by the addition of the largest private chain Apoteka Lijek PZU and the pharmaceutical wholesaler Farmegra d.o.o in Montenegro. “We continuously strive to be the best integrated healthcare provider – wherever we are”, says Windholz. PHOENIX combines healthcare services from logistics, wholesale, and own pharmacies for patients.

This expansion course is also evident in the development of employees. The total number in Europe in the past fiscal year rose by 14.8 per cent to 34,145, in particular due to the acquisitions. Across Germany, the number of positions rose slightly to 4,434.

Solid basis for continued positive corporate development

To secure its future growth, the PHOENIX group has a robust financial structure and good access to the capital market. Equity rose from €2.73 billion to €2.85 billion, essentially due to the group result. As at the balance sheet date, the equity ratio amounted to 33.1 per cent despite several acquisitions. The financial result improved from € -57.5 million to € -48.8 million owing to lower interest costs. Net debt rose to €1.38 billion as a result of the Mediq acquisition.

“We intend to continue our profitable growth, even if the pressure on healthcare budgets in the countries persists and the requirements on pharmaceutical distribution increase”, says Windholz. The PHOENIX CEO believes that the company is more broadly positioned than most of the competition. PHOENIX intends to drive forward the integration of the acquired companies and continue its integrated expansion of the Wholesale, Retail, and Pharma Services business.

In July 2017, the Mannheim-based company will launch its Europe-wide category brand LIVSANE. These products, which are available exclusively in pharmacies, supplement the product range in categories such as non-prescription (OTC) medicines, diagnostic tools, body and baby care, feminine hygiene, and nutritional supplements.

At the same time, the company is working on innovative solutions: “We intend to make use of the opportunities offered by digitisation and actively advance the development of new business ideas and services”, continued Windholz in his outlook for the fiscal year 2017/18, adding that the foundations have been laid for positive long-term business development. Overall, Windholz believes that “PHOENIX is well on course”.

Key figures of the PHOENIX group in comparison with the previous year’s period

in €m
in €m
Total operating performance128,484.630,232.8
Total income22,416.62,567.2
EBITDA, before non-recurring items3497.2472.3
Adjusted profit before tax4335.3289.8
Equity ratio (in %)35.133.1
Net debt1,121.61,377.5

(Balance sheet date 31/01/2017)

1 Total operating performance = revenue + handled volume (handling for service charge).
2 Total income = gross income + other operating income.
3 Adjustments for one-off effects: foreign exchange rate effects, Mediq acquisition costs, and tax audits for previous years.
4 Adjusted for impairment losses on goodwill, changes in pension schemes 2015/16, Mediq acquisition costs, and tax audits for previous years.

Press contacts

Maren HolodaDirector Corporate Communications+49 621 8505 8593m.holoda(at)
Jacob-Nicolas SprengelSenior Manager Corporate Communications+49 621 8505 8502j.sprengel(at)