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Celesio And The Russian Pharmaceutical Holding Protek Intend A Close Business Cooperation

Stuttgart (Germany)/Moscow (Russia), 15 October 2007 --- Celesio, leading European distributor of pharmaceuticals and pharmacy operator, and the Protek Holding, comprising of the leading pharmaceutical distributor in Russia, a retail pharmacy operator and pharmaceutical manufacturing, are planning a close business cooperation and have agreed to exclusive negotiations regarding a multi-level acquisition of a majority stake by Celesio in the Protek Group.

The extent of the planned transaction has not been diverged.

Negotiations should be completed by mid December 2007.

CV Protek is the leading distribution company in the Russian pharmaceutical market with a market share of approx. 24% and a turnover of 2.2 billion US $ in 2006. CV Protek is the only pharmaceutical distribution company that covers almost all the Russian territory. Protek Holding also owns the second largest pharmacy chain in Russia with approx. 630 pharmacies. Last year the pharmacy chain achieved a turnover of around 250 million US $. The holding also owns a production company for the packing of solid pharmaceuticals and manufacturing and bottling of liquid pharmaceuticals.

"We believe that the Russian economic environment in general, the pharmaceutical market in particular and especially Protek are great and attractive opportunities for Celesio", said Fritz Oesterle, Chairman of the Celesio Board. "We will support the existing strong retail and wholesale activities and the further development of the Protek Group as the leading Russian pharmaceutical holding". Vadim Yakunin, CEO of Protek said: "We welcome Celesio as an experienced strategic Partner for a long term collaboration. With Celesio we expect to profit from synergy effects and to facilitate the expansion of our activities. This will lead to an improvement of our position as a strong company in the Russian pharmaceutical market".

Fritz Oesterle, CEO of Celesio, emphasised the importance of the cooperation as being "a significant and strategic step for Celesio in an interesting and challenging growth market".

The Russian market belongs to one of the strongest growing health markets in the world. Within the next few years the pharmaceutical market is expected to expand by around 20% per year.

Important influencing factors for this expected high growth rate in the pharmaceutical market include the government's systematic development of the health system, the general increase in the level of income and the predicted increase of average life expectancy of the Russian population.

About Celesio Group:

In 2006 Celesio generated 21.6 billion euros revenue. More than 36,000 people work for the company. Celesio operates in 16 countries. The three business divisions Wholesale, Pharmacies and Solutions cover the whole spectrum of pharmaceutical distribution and services. In Wholesale 135 branches bring medicines to pharmacies about 100,000 times every day. About 2,100 pharmacies serve each day more than 500,000 customers. The Solutions division offers pharmaceutical manufacturers logistics and transportation services und supports them with sales and marketing.

About Protek Group:

Protek Group is a vertical integrated pharmaceutical holding that combines distribution (including drug import and pre-wholesale), retail pharmacy, packaging, contract manufacturing and contract sales (CSO) activities. Protek Group is the leading Russian pharmaceutical wholesaler and the number 2 player in the Russian retail pharmacy market with the Rigla pharmacy chain (634 stores on 31/12/2006 including the acquired O3 chain). Protek Group generated a revenue of 2.4 billion US $ in 2006, about 12.000 people work for the Group.


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