The latest speculation about Chemist Warehouse’s future suggests an IPO could be delayed until 2021
Mainstream business media have for some time been examining rumours and suggestions about how Chemist Warehouse could look in the future, suggesting since 2017 that it could be getting ready to float.
In March 2018 co-founder Jack Gance said that Chemist Warehouse was not interested in an initial public offer, yet by August 2019, a date of late 2020 was being suggested by the Australian Financial Review for a potential float.
It reported that Rothschild Australia, the Australian operation of the global Rothschild & Co group, which offers services in global advisory, wealth and asset management, and merchant banking, had been linked to the discount giant.
And last month, The Australian Business Review Dataroom editor Bridget Carter suggested that another divestment option could be on the cards: a possible sale, perhaps to Wesfarmers.
This week Ms Carter writes that it’s likely the discounter’s owners will prefer to retain an interest in Australia’s largest pharmacy retailer.
She writes that it is believed a float will remain the most likely option for Chemist Warehouse – but not right now, with a number of floats by other companies pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Chemist Warehouse’s plans for an initial public offering are understood to have been pushed back to next year,” writes Ms Carter.
“Last month, suggestions surfaced that a suitor could be running the ruler over the business, yet many now expect a float of the pharmacy chain to be the most likely option, with the owners thought to be keen to retain a stake.”
She concludes, “A bid to avoid capital gains tax was said to be behind Chemist Warehouse’s move to wait until the fourth quarter for its IPO.
“The company has undergone a restructure in preparation for being a listed company, but to prevent a major capital gains tax payment it had to hold the business for more than 12 months.”