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Davidsons Chemists: Perthshire firm targets more acquisitions after ‘best ever’ year

Allan Gordon, managing director of Davidsons Chemists.
Allan Gordon, managing director of Davidsons Chemists.

Perthshire-based Davidsons Chemists is targeting further expansion before the end of the year as the firm looks to acquire its 50th pharmacy.

The company completed a deal to acquire two pharmacies in Dunblane earlier this summer.

That took the company’s total outlets across Scotland to 44 – including RS McPherson Pharmacy after a multi-million pound deal in 2018.

Davidson Chemists managing director Allan Gordon hopes another deal will be concluded before Christmas.

He said: “I can’t say too much about it. We have had an offer accepted for a group. We expect to take them over on December 1.

“It is a group of six that should be joining us subject to the usual caveats.

“With a fair wind and no issues, that would take us to 50 by the end of the year.”

The acquisitions have seen the company’s workforce rise to nearly 500. That will rise by about 100 when the ongoing deal is completed.

Mr Gordon also hopes it will take the firm’s turnover to £50-55 million.

‘Best year on record’ for Davidsons Chemists

It comes as accounts filed at Companies House show the firm’s turnover grew by more than £5m for the year ending 31 January 2021.

Walter Davidson and Sons Limited, which has its headquarters and central warehouse facility in Blairgowrie, recorded turnover of £46.8m, up from £42.7m in 2020.

Pre-tax profits also grew to £5.5m, up from £3.3m.

Mr Gordon hailed the result as the firm’s best ever financial year in uncertain times.

He said: “It was our best year on record against the backdrop of challenging and unsettling times for the world.

Davidsons Chemists, raised a huge amount for MND Scotland last year.

“For pharmacies, it was less challenging in a business sense. It was more challenging in healthcare generally and managing the wellbeing of our staff and the patients.

“It all culminated in 2020 being a very good year for us. We made some significant changes to the way we did our business in 2019 and the full benefits of those changes came through.

“That is a line in the sand for our results going forward.”

Looking at future takeover opportunities

Eight acquisitions in 2021 would represent the firm’s “busiest ever” year, Mr Gordon said.

He did not rule out Davidsons Chemists looking for more acquisition opportunities in the future.

The managing director said previously he hoped the firm would grow to 60 pharmacies and about 700 staff.

Mr Gordon has hailed the company’s best ever year.

Mr Gordon said: “We do put a lot of resource to managing takeovers to make sure they are successful and sensitive.

“We are hopefully an easy partner to deal with, and people see that we are looking after the businesses once they are gone.

“If someone is thinking about cashing in their chips, hopefully Davidsons Chemists would be top of the pile of people they’d speak to.”

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