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Pharmacy Chain 36.6 Sales Rise on Expansion, Spending

Pharmacy Chain 36.6, Russia’s largest drugstore company, said first-half sales rose 77 percent as new stores opened across the country and consumers spent more money on medicines and personal-care products.

Sales increased to $385 million from $217.6 million a year earlier, the Moscow-based company said Monday in a statement, without providing net income.

36.6, whose name comes from the Centigrade reading for the optimal human body temperature, is expanding across Russia as a ninth straight year of economic growth boosts incomes outside the country’s largest cities. The average monthly wage increased an annual 15.2 percent to 13,810 rubles ($539.95) in June, according to the Economy Ministry.

Regional pharmacies generated more than half of revenue from 36.6’s chain operations in the half. The average purchase in those stores climbed 38 percent, more than in Moscow. Sales gained 35 percent at outlets opened before Jan. 1, 2006.

The company had 936 pharmacies in 26 Russian regions as of the end of June. In the second quarter, 36.6 acquired a 48-outlet chain in the city of Yekaterinburg in the Ural mountains. The company opened another 43 pharmacies itself in the quarter and closed nine.

Veropharm, the company’s drugmaking unit, contributed $58.2 million to total revenue and increased sales by 29 percent in the first half.

36.6 had debt of $263.6 million as of the end of June, including $21.4 million owed by Veropharm.


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