McCauleys says takeover report 'idle speculation'
THE Managing Director of Sam McCauley's has dismissed as 'idle speculation' a weekend report that the US-owned Lloyds Pharmacy Group is planning to take it over the business in a deal that could be worth €50 million.
However, while maintaining the no comment stance, Patrick McCormack has told staff in a memo that 'as a successful, well-resourced company we are constantly on the lookout for opportunities that will benefit all stakeholders in our company including our staff'.
'Our company policy is not to comment on idle speculation,' said Mr McCormack, when asked by this newspaper to respond directly to the report.
'We are focused on continuing to grow and develop our business with recent investment of over €1m in Kilkenny and Wexford and have two further greenfield sites in the pipeline in 2016,' said Mr McCormack.
A member of staff told this newspaper that the report about a possible takeover by Lloyds 'had come like a bolt out of the blue'.
According to the Sunday Times, talks between McCauleys and Lloyds have been taking place for several months and are well advanced.
The paper quoted sources as saying that PwC had been appointed to advise on the sale process at the beginning of the year.
In a memo sent to all its staff and management on Monday (September 14), Mr McCormack says, 'some of you may have seen a speculative article about our company published in yesterday's Sunday Times.
'As is to be expected for competitive, growth-oriented businesses such as ours, we are constantly seeking ways to serve our customers better and respond to changing market conditions. Nobody working in the pharmacy sector needs to be reminded that we are in a period of unprecedented change - from how customers shop, to changes in government policy to competitive forces.
'As a successful, well-resourced company we are constantly on the lookout for opportunities that will benefit all stakeholders in our company including our staff.
'When those opportunities crystallise, our staff are always the first to be made aware of them through direct communication by management rather than through media. As a matter of policy, the company does not comment on speculation and that is the case with regard to this article.'
The McCauley pharmacy chain, which was founded in Enniscorthy 42 years ago by Sam's father, the late G.B. McCauley, has 28 branches in Counties Wexford, Dublin, Cork, Wicklow, Carlow, Waterford, Tipperary and Kerry and employs 550 staff. It also has a growing online presence.
The group's pre-tax profits dipped to €1.94 million last year, due in the main to a write down in the value of its financial assets.
Mr McCormack said the company expected an improvement in turnover this year to €75 million.
Sam McCauley and his wife Leslie, both pharmacists, joined the family business in 1978 maintaining the well-established 'family chemist' culture, long nurtured by Sam's parents and staff.