ING INVESTMENT BANKING becomes financial advisor of 36.6 drugstore chain

OAO Drugstore Chain 36.6, which includes ZAO Verofarm medicine producer and ZAO Drugstore Chain 36.6, has appointed ING INVESTMENT BANKING its financial advisor for attracting additional funds for development. The chain of drugstores is going to raise funds by floating its stocks on one of the Russian exchanges or issuing bonds. Another possibility would be the issue of part of the company's stocks. In any case, the blocking stake in OAO Drugstore Chain 36.6 will not be sold, a source in the company reported. Viktor Saks, the company's Strategy Director and a member of the board, will be responsible for attracting additional funds.

A source in the company reported to RBC that attracted funds would be used for the development of the company's transport infrastructure in Moscow and for expansion in Russian regions. The chain is going to increase the number of its drugstores in Moscow to 50 by the end of 2002 and the total number of 36.6 drugstores will reach 150 to 180 throughout Russia by 2006. The company will launch its business in St. Petersburg in the near future. It may purchase one of the existing retail chains in St. Petersburg or establish its own retail chain of drugstores. Raised funds are also expected to be allocated for enlarging the range of produced medicines.

ZAO Drugstore Chain 36.6 owns 46 drugstores in Moscow and several stores in Murmansk. ZAO Verofarm is one of the largest producers of medicines for treating cancer. It also produces GMP pharmaceutical products.

According to audited results for the first half of 2002, presented by the management of ZAO Drugstore Chain 36.6, the company's sales volume reached $50m according to International Accounting Standards. The owners of OAO Drugstore Chain 36.6 are Artyom Bektemirov and Sergey Krivosheyev, who own a 95-percent stake in the company. The remaining 5-percent stake belongs to the company's management.

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