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Walgreens takes 40% stake in Chinese drugstore chain GuoDa

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. said July 5 that it completed its planned acquisition of a 40% stake in Chinese retail pharmacy chain Sinopharm Holding GuoDa Drugstores Co. Ltd.

The U.S. drugstore retailer made the purchase through a capital increase worth 2.77 billion yuan, after receiving regulatory approvals. Walgreens will account for its minority stake in GuoDa as an equity method investment.

Shanghai-based GuoDa, a subsidiary of China National Accord Medicines Corp. Ltd., operates more than 3,800 retail pharmacies in approximately 70 cities across China.

Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens, said in a statement: "We believe there is great potential in working together [with GuoDa] to play a transforming role in the evolving Chinese retail pharmacy market."

This investment comes shortly after Walgreens reduced its stake in Chinese joint venture Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals Corp. to 20% through a deal with its JV partner, Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical Holdings.

As of July 5, US$1 was equivalent to 6.64 Chinese yuan.