WBA sees ‘a significant opportunity’ ahead

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Walgreens Boots Alliance chief Stefano Pessina stresses global presence

4.15.15 Walgreens


NEW YORK — Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. has the size and scope to be “one of the companies that helps shape the future of health care, pharmacy and retail on a global basis,” executive vice president and acting chief executive officer Stefano Pessina said at the company’s Analyst Day event.

Pessina detailed the progress made in integrating the Walgreens Boots Alliance’s operations in the just over three months since Walgreen Co. and Alliance Boots GmbH completed their merger.

“We have achieved a lot in a short period of time, and everything we have seen convinces us that there is a significant opportunity,” Pessina told analysts gathered at Manhattan’s Ritz Carlton Hotel Battery Park. “It may take different forms in different markets, and there may be many components as it takes time to deliver. But the potential is there.”

Pessina acknowledged that the search for a new chief executive officer is taking longer than expected. But he assured analysts that in the meantime he would not be just a caretaker CEO.

In response to questions from analysts, Pessina said he would not rule out additional acquisitions or mergers, including a possible deal with a pharmacy benefit management company. “We are open to any kind of commercial joint venture,” he said.

But Pessina stressed the benefits that the company — including its retail divisions — gets from its pharmaceutical wholesale division.

“Wholesale lets us enter new markets at scale more rapidly than retail, while its cash flows help give us financial scale and efficiencies,” he explained.

Pessina added that analysts, when speculating about potential future WBA mergers or partnerships, should bear in mind that it is now a truly global company, pursuing a global strategy.

“I understand that it is very tempting to still view us as a U.S. business,” he said. “And given the size of the market, it is easy to focus on the U.S. alone. However we can not afford to be parochial, nor would we ever choose to be.”


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