Clicks to sell stake in Unicorn following Constitutional Court judgement

Clicks, at the Mall of the North, in Polokwane. Clicks plans to open 50 to 55 new stores in the short term. Photo: SIPHIWE SIBEKO Independent Newspapers.

Clicks, at the Mall of the North, in Polokwane. Clicks plans to open 50 to 55 new stores in the short term. Photo: SIPHIWE SIBEKO Independent Newspapers.

Published Jul 2, 2024


The Clicks Group said yesterday that it would sell its stake in Unicorn Pharmaceuticals following a Constitutional Court decision in March 2023, on regulations that prohibit pharmacies from owning pharmaceutical manufacturers.

South Africa’s Constitutional Court ruled in favour of the Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA), which had argued that Clicks’ ownership of Unicorn violated these regulations.

The sale will pave the way for Clicks to resume the opening of new pharmacies, as the Department of Health (DoH) had advised that no new retail pharmacy licence applications could be processed until the DOH Director General was satisfied that Clicks was compliant with the Constitutional Court judgement.

“As part of a constructive engagement process with the Director General and the DoH, Clicks Group proposed to regularise its position by the group divesting of its total shareholding in the manufacturing pharmacy, Unicorn Pharmaceuticals. The Director General accepted this proposal on 27 June 2024,” the beauty and health product retailer and pharmacy group said in a JSE regulatory notice yesterday.

Clicks CEO, Bertina Engelbrecht, said they were confident that the sale of the Unicorn shareholding would be completed by the end of this month,

The sale followed a Constitutional Court judgement in the case of the Independent Community Pharmacy Association versus the Clicks Group and others, which was then referred to the Director General of the Department of Health (DoH) to determine sanction.

Englebrecht welcomed the resolution of the protracted legal process and acknowledged the role of the Director General, the DoH and its legal advisers and their positive engagement in ensuring a sustainable solution for all stakeholders.

"The completion of the Unicorn disposal will pave the way for the DoH to issue outstanding and new pharmacy licences. This will support the continued growth and expansion of the Clicks pharmacy network in providing high quality, affordable and accessible healthcare to an increasing number of South Africans," said Engelbrecht.

Click’s online web site showed it had spent R314 million in new stores and pharmacies, store refurbishments, supply chain and information technology in its year to February 28, 2024.

It plans to accelerate this store expansion programme by opening another 50 to 55 stores in the short term, with a further 10 to 20 pharmacies planned to be opened.

According to previous reports on the court matter, Clicks had maintained that it was not a manufacturer, as Unicorn was importing medicines and repackaging them as generic Clicks house branded medicines.

Clicks’ share price was trading 2.51% higher at R352.99 yesterday afternoon, after gaining a healthy 33% over 12 months, but the price remained muted at 0.61% to R346.47 per share by 4pm.