Owens & Minor plans to acquire Movianto Group, a European healthcare 3PL


Action adds to the increasing number of global healthcare-distribution pathways

Owens & Minor (Richmond, VA), a leading healthcare-products distributor, primarily to acute-care facilities, in the US, stepped into the pharmaceutical-distribution arena a couple years ago by opening O&M Healthcare Logistics, which has been growing at a healthy clip, according to company sources. Now, it is broadening that activity by offering to acquire Movianto Group, a third-party logistics unit of Celesio AG (Stuttgart, Germany). Purchase price is $158 million, and the acquisition will be finalized after the European regulatory review is completed. Celesio, a leading European drug wholesaler and chain pharmacy, also recently announced the sale of Pharmexx, a pharma contract sales and marketing organization, to Ireland’s United Drug PLC (Dublin).

According to company statements, O&M will combine its Healthcare Logistics unit with Movianto, which has 23 facilities in 11 European countries, and 1,800 employees; no consolidation is planned, and O&M and Celesio “also intend to explore mutually beneficial projects in distribution and logistics in the healthcare markets.” Like O&M Healthcare Logistics, Movianto provides warehousing, transportation and cold chain services, along with value-added services like order-to-cash, repackaging and relabeling.

The action is the latest in a growing series of cross-border healthcare-distribution deals. UPS acquired, Pieffe, an Italian drug distributor last year, and hopes to finalize its acquisition of TNT Express (which has healthcare operations in addition to other industries’ products) this year. Walgreens, the big chain pharmacy, is acquiring Alliance Boots, which is both a large pharmacy chain and a drug wholesaler, mostly in Europe. Also this year, AmerisourceBergen acquired World Courier, an international clinical-logistics firm. In 2010, Cardinal Health significantly expanded its footprint in China by acquiring a major wholesaler there. While the logic of consolidating logistics operations globally is compelling, the policies of national health authorities complicate the drug-distribution business.

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