The Agostini's Group has acquired two companies – Oscar Francois Ltd and Intersol Ltd – expanding its network in the pharmaceutical industry.
And the deal comes at a time when the group anticipates a role in the distribution of covid19 vaccines when they become commercially available.
In a notice published in the press Agostini's announced its newest subsidiaries to join Smith Robertson and Co Ltd. The acquisitions were made by Smith Robertson which purchased all of the shareholdings in the two companies.
"We wish to advise our shareholders that our subsidiary company, Smith Robertson and Company Limited has signed a Sale and Purchase agreement with the shareholders of Oscar Francois Limited and Intersol Limited to acquire 100% of the issued and outstanding shares of those companies," Agostini's stated.
The deal, once due diligence is completed, would close by April 30. Agostini's's said the acquisitions were approved by the TT Fair Trading Commission.
Intersol manufactures a range of personal care products, and the Diquez brand is one of its most popular. Oscar Francois is a leading pharmaceutical, medical supplies distributor and also provides personal care products. It's range includes agriculture and veterinary supplies.
Agostini Group chairman Christian Mouttet could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
In the group's unaudited financials for the first quarter ending December 31, 2020, Mouttet reports a ten per cent increase in profit after tax to $43.8 million, although group sales declined by one per cent to $968 million.
In the the area of pharmaceutical and health care the decline in revenue was small mostly because of a decline in demand for cosmetics and related products as there was little social activity, the chairman reported. The segment still remained profitability because of improved efficiency.
While cautious on the outlook for 2021, the forecast for the medium to long term remained positive. The arrival of vaccines in the region enhanced Mouttet's optimism.
The recent approval of several vaccines for the virus, with the expectation of additional vaccines under various stages of development being approved is positive and cause for optimism. Our pharmaceutical distribution and retail companies stand ready to assist the Ministry of Health with the management of the logistics and the implementation of their vaccination programme when vaccines are available to our market," Mouttet said his report dated February 10.
Mouttet also noted that despite "significant difficulties" on the group's performance in the Barbados and St Lucia markets owing to the impact of the covid19 pandemic, it experienced improved results on the strength of its brands and companies in other markets. Its industrial and construction arms incurred reduced revenue over the previous year.
Agostini's is the second conglomerate to express interest in playing a role in the national vaccination programme. The Ansa McAl Group recently said it would provide vaccines to its 6,000-strong workforce across the Caribbean and assist in the vaccination programme when vaccines become widely available.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh in response last weekend to Ansa McAl's plan said government welcomed the participation of the private sector in the initiative.
Government recently vaccinated health workers with the first batch of 2,000 doses it received as a gift from Barbados which received a donation of 100,000 vaccines from India last month.
Deyalsingh has since announced TT is expected to receive 100,800 vaccines from the Covax facility by the end of the month.