My Chemist and Chemist Warehouse co-founders jump more than 30 places up the AFR Rich List, seeing their wealth increase by nearly 70% since COVID-19 hit
My Chemist Retail Group co-founders Jack Gance and Mario Verrocchi have more than doubled their fortune in just three years, reaching rank 60 and rank 63 respectively in this year’s Australian Financial Review Rich List.
Chairman of the group, Mr Gance, boasts a personal fortune of $1.82 billion—a 66.2% increase on the year prior when he was valued at $1.1 billion.
Meanwhile Chief Executive Mr Verrocchi is valued just behind at $1.79 billion, seeing a 68.9% increase since the same time last year when he was valued at $1.06 billion.
Last year Mr Gance and Mr Verrocchi were ranked at 93 and 98, meaning they have jumped more than 30 places up the Rich List in just 12 months.
The years prior saw them in approximately the same position, with a wealth of $813 million and $803 million respectively in 2018.
My Chemist Retail Group runs Chemist Warehouse and My Chemist stores across Australia.
Mr Gance started with just one Melbourne pharmacy in 1973, explains the AFR, and has built that into a “complex franchise structure” with more than 400 sites and an estimated $5 billion in sales.
“Chemist Warehouse is never far from IPO speculation with talk resuming this year,” said the AFR, referring to rumours of a float that has been anticipated since 2017.
“The discount chemist chain is mooted for a listing valuing it at $5 billion, making it the biggest listing since Medibank hit the boards in 2014,” it said.
The duo also made The Australian‘s Richest 250 List in March this year.
“The giant Chemist Warehouse discount chain performed well during COVID-19, doubling its digital sales during lockdown as customers shifted to ordering healthcare products online. But the basis of the group is still its large retail network,” wrote the publication.
My Chemist Retail Group hold an estimated 21.1% share of Australia’s $21.8 billion a year pharmacies market, according to IBIS World.
Robert Millner, chair of Washington H Soul Pattinson (current majority shareholder of Australian Pharmaceutical Industries), and his family, sit in 74th place of the Rich List with a net worth of $1.54 billion–up 33.1% on last year.
“Washington H Soul Pattinson started from a single Sydney pharmacy in the 1880s, opened by a distant Millner relative,” said the AFR.
Wesfarmers recently made a bid for API and Washington H. Soul Pattinson, which owns 19.3% of API’s share, agreed to vote in favour of the proposal.
The “non-binding, indicative offer” to API’s board was to acquire 100% of API’s shares for $1.38 cash per share, “a 21% premium to API’s last close price”, valuing the company at $687 million.
Not all of the big players have seen such a meteoric rise since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Michael Boyd, the majority owner of pathology and diagnostics company Sonic Healthcare, dropped a few places since last year—from 152 to 163.
Mr Boyd, who also owns 49% of Jayex Healthcare, a patient-booking platform and remote prescribing platform he founded in 2004, has total wealth of $687 million.
Jina Chen and Alex Wu, founders of the Nature’s Care brand, have also dropped in the list following a 12.5% downturn on their wealth from last year.
They have placed at number 196 on the list, with total wealth of $595 million, down several spots from 159 in 2020.
According to the AFR, the pair sold 75% of Nature’s Care in 2018 to China’s JIC Investments and Tamar Alliance Fund, in a deal valuing it at $800 million.
Not appearing on the list this year were recent debut rich listers Cathie Reid and Stuart Giles, who were at rank 195 last year with a net wealth of $550 million between them.
Also not on the list was Marcus Blackmore, former co-owner and executive director of the complementary medicines giant Blackmores. He was placed at number 137 as recently as the 2018 iteration of the list.
Mr Blackmore stepped down from the Blackmores board in late October 2020 after 47 years as a director, and has since dedicated himself to philanthropic endeavours through the Blackmore Foundation.
See the full list here