Santander funds multi-million takeover of 11 pharmacies

A pharmacist running a health company whose current portfolio consists of three retail pharmacies in Merseyside and Manchester has acquired 11 more pharmacies after securing millions of pounds in funding from a bank.

Santander UK provided £12.5m to RB Healthcare, an Aintree-based company set up by owner Rishi Bhatia in 2005. It describes itself as consisting “of mainly healthcare divisions with property interests".

It is thought the funding deal contains working capital, overdrafts and loans. As well as retail pharmacies, RB Healthcare also has an online pharmacy called Clear Chemist, which is set to benefit from a portion of the Santander funding. 

“Santander UK has an in-depth understanding of the healthcare sector, our business’ growth plans, and, crucially, our core values – all of which are essential qualities in a banking partner,” said Mr Bhatia, who is a director of RB Healthcare.

“The funding structure that Santander UK has put in place has allowed us to start achieving our goals from the outset. Community pharmacies have been at the forefront of healthcare during the pandemic.”

Andy Casey, head of medical at Santander UK, said: “We are delighted to support RB Healthcare’s major acquisition of 11 community pharmacies, and to bring it on board for all its day-to-day banking.

"The company is a well-known and much valued operator in the community pharmacy sector in the North West, and we look forward to helping it achieve its growth plans in coming months and years.”

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