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Alitam plays down speculation over ability to finance big plans

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Alitam plays down speculation over ability to finance big plans

By Neil Trainis

A pharmacy group that recently unveiled a £1bn plan to create 500 state-of-the-art “super pharmacies” has played down speculation over its finances and denied it lacks the funds to carry out the project.

Alitam Group, which was formed in 2019 by its CEO Feisal Nahaboo (pictured) and claims to be a “consolidation” of 43 pharmacy groups across the UK and Ireland representing 140 pharmacies, told Independent Community Pharmacist it has secured the support of profitable companies and private equity investors.

Alitam Group Limited’s most recent full accounts filed on Companies House show its capital and reserves stood at £34,109. The accounts were filed on September 20, 2021 and cover the period between November 1, 2019 to November 30, 2020.  

However, a group spokesperson said those accounts relate to “a membership of Alitam rather than ownership of all the Alitam pharmacies.”

When asked whether it was in a position to embark on its £1bn project, the spokesperson said: “Mr Nahaboo has founded the ‘overnight multiple merger model’ where a large number of profitable and successful companies are prepared to enter a mass overnight consolidation. They are all then invested in by major multi-billion pound private equity investors.”

They added: “Due to competitive advantage principle, we cannot give any details on Alitam. However, you only need to look at the quality of the Alitam executive board including Queen advisor (lord lieutenant of London), former MDs of Credit Suisse and HSBC, former Avicenna group board executive and former Well Pharmacy ops director amongst others to recognise that this is a substantial movement in the pharmacy industry.”

Among those on the Group’s Board includes its chairman Sir Kenneth Olisa, who was the first British-born black director of a FTSE-100 company and has sat on the Boards of companies such as Open Text, ENRC, Huawei (UK) and Nigeria’s Interswitch.

Last month, Alitam announced that Boots UK’s former head of pharmacy Jamal Butt had joined its executive board, an appointment Mr Nahaboo said would “help turbo charge” its plans.

It was in January this year that Mr Nahaboo launched his ambitious super pharmacies blueprint giving the public access to health advice, diagnostic services, eyecare, dental and cosmetic procedures and even facilities for women to give birth in-store.

His vision is to transform 500 high street pharmacies over the next 10 years into what he described as “state-of-the-art wellness and medical centres".

Alitam is also reportedly looking to buy between 50 and 100 pharmacies every year over the next five years as it attempts to reach its target of 500 high street pharmacies.

This week, the group pledged to invest a seven-figure sum as part of its merger with Pharmadoctor which provides clinical services for patients in pharmacies.

And today (August 19), Alitam announced a merger with MhRx, a company that creates private walk-in clinics in retail pharmacies. Alitam said the deal will enable it "to upskill UK pharmacists so that its chain of community pharmacies can diagnose and treat minor medical ailments quickly and safely."

"MhRx’s training incorporates every aspect of general practice alongside relevant topics including making appropriate patient consultation records in line with NHS guidelines," Alitam said in a statement. "This will allow pharmacies to achieve formal diagnoses, formulate differential diagnosis plans, and perform full clinical examinations."  

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