31 July 2006

Alliance Boots plc today confirms the successful completion of the merger between Boots Group PLC and Alliance UniChem Plc to form a new international pharmacy-led health and beauty group.

The Company is also issuing today, as a matter of record, a trading update for Boots The Chemists for the three months ended 30 June 2006 (see Appendix 1), and the financial results for Alliance UniChem for the six months ended 30 June 2006 (see Appendix 2), which had originally been scheduled by Alliance UniChem to be issued on 1 August 2006.

These announcements demonstrate that both businesses are on track. The interim results for the newly merged Alliance Boots will be announced in November 2006.

Richard Baker, Chief Executive of Alliance Boots, commented:

"I am delighted that we are able to announce the completion of the merger between Alliance UniChem and Boots to create Europe's foremost international pharmacy-led health and beauty group. The union of these two great businesses also establishes a new market leader in UK pharmacy and provides exciting opportunities for international growth.

"Looking ahead our immediate focus is to commence the delivery of the identified cost synergies of at least £100 million per annum by the fourth full year. The first stage of this work has already started and we are confident of delivering £60 million of annualised savings by the end of the second year.

"The merger will enable us to improve the offering for both our wholesale and retail customers. While there is a lot of hard work ahead and it will take time to deliver the full benefits of this merger, we are already making changes for our customers in the UK with a range of popular Boots products available in 500 Alliance Pharmacies from today.

"I would like to thank everybody involved in the successful completion of the transaction. Despite the huge additional effort inevitably required by this process our businesses have remained focused and delivered solid results that keep us on track for the year.

"We have a firm foundation for our future success and we are determined to deliver the benefits of this to our enlarged group of shareholders in the years to come."

                                                                  - Ends -

Richard Baker, Chief Executive and George Fairweather, Group Finance Director, will host a conference call for analysts at 09.15 BST.

UK dial in number 020 7190 1596
International dial in number +44 20 7190 1596

Quote conference title - Alliance Boots Trading Update

A replay facility will be available for seven days:

UK dial in number 020 8515 2499
International dial in number +44 20 8515 2499
Access number 354854#

Notes to Editors:

  1. Alliance Boots is Europe's foremost international pharmacy-led health and beauty group. Geographical coverage:
    • Alliance Boots pharmaceutical wholesaling businesses:
      Czech Republic, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain and the UK.
    • Associate pharmaceutical wholesaling interests:
      Egypt, Germany, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and Turkey.
    • Alliance Boots retail healthcare outlets:
      Republic of Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Thailand, and the UK
    • Associate retail healthcare outlets:
      Italy and Switzerland.
    • Alliance Boots own brand products sold through wholesale and to selected retail partners:
      Canada, Czech Republic, Dubai, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Kuwait, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK and the USA. Scale of business:
    • A full-line wholesale and distribution network serving over 125,000*† outlets in 14 countries from over 380*† depots
    • 3,000*†‡ retail outlets (2,700*†‡ of which have a pharmacy)
      • 2,600*‡ healthcare outlets in the UK of which:
        • 1,500*‡ community pharmacies
        • 800* destination health and beauty stores
        • 300* other retail outlets, including free standing Boots Opticians practices
      • 400*† pharmacies operating outside the UK
    • Market-leading own brand products including "No 7", "Soltan", "Botanics" and "Almus"
    • Over 100,000*† employees
    • * approximate numbers
      † including associates where applicable.
      ‡ prior to the disposal of 96 pharmacies required by the Office of Fair Trading as a condition of the merger.
  2. Alliance Boots' management team offers a strong combination of retail pharmacy, pharmaceutical wholesale distribution, acquisition and brand management experience.
  3. The "Boots" brand is expected to increase the Group's appeal to potential partners, customers and pharmacists. In addition, the sale of Alliance Boots' extensive proprietary product range (e.g. "No 7", "Soltan", "Botanics" and "Almus") in international markets is expected to provide incremental benefits.
  4. Alliance Boots has a pipeline of attractive opportunities in new geographical markets for the expansion of both our retail pharmacy network and our wholesale and distribution activities. The Group's ability to access new markets and its attractiveness to potential partners are expected to be enhanced significantly by the management expertise, internationally recognised brands and balance sheet strength.
  5. For further information please see the Company's new website www.allianceboots.com which is launched today.

Merger Completion Statement as a PDF -(96 KB) open link in a new window

Merger Completion Statement as a Word document -(392 KB) open link in a new window

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