Catena becomes the second Romanian venture to reach a turnover of 1 billion euros, after bricolage retailer Dedeman, managed by the Pavăl brothers. During the last five years, the pharmacy chain managed by entrepreneur Anca Vlad has increased in sales by three times.
The Catena pharmacy chain reached RON 4.7 billion in 2019, an increase of 17% compared to the previous year. This number brings the brand, founded over 20 years ago by entrepreneur Anca Vlad, in the “league” of ventures reaching the 1 billion euros threshold.
Catena’s net profit was of RON 190 billion in 2019, a 5% increase compared to the previous year, according to the data offered by the company’s representatives. On the national level, 800 pharmacies function under the Catena brand name, leading a pharmacy’s average revenue to RON 5.8 million per unit, according to the calculations made by Ziarul Financiar. The revenue, however, varies from unit to unit.
From 30 pharmacies to the top ranking
Entrepreneur Anca Vlad, an ASE graduate of the International Business faculty, started working ever since graduation as a translator and guide. For her first job, in 1980, Anca Vlad obtained a place in Silvarom, a company in the wood industry.
After the Revolution, in 1991, the entrepreneur set the basis of Fildas Trading, which, 30 years later, became one of the most important names in the distribution of pharmaceutical products, with 14 logistical centers across the country.
The Catena brand made its appearance in 1998, after Anca Vlad purchased a network of 30 pharmacies, which also owned a warehouse, in Pitești, Argeș county. The entrepreneur consolidated the business on a permanent basis, through openings and aquisitions, turning the regional network into a national one, counting 800 units. The entrepreneur did not cumulate the company’s business on a single legal entity.
Following the market request, other satellite brands emerged from Catena, such as Catena Pas cu Pas – seven stores that sell medical equipment, but also the Naturalis brand, created in 2005, consisting of cosmetic and nutrition products made of natural ingredients, sold exclusively in Catena pharmacies.
The growth recipe – connected businesses
The Catena and Fildas Trading cumulative turnovers reached RON 8.9 billion in 2019, an increase of 17% compared to the previous year. In 2018, the Fildas – Catena Group reached the top position in the ranking of the biggest pharmaceutical groups, outpacing the A&D Pharma group (Mediplus distributor and Sensiblu pharmacies).
At the end of 2019, the Fildas-Catena Group had over 7,300 employees, a number higher by 1,000 compared to the previous year. The business model followed by entrepreneurs from the pharmaceutical retail and distribution consisted of connecting the two activity fields, diminishing losses and ensuring a permanent flow of products within their own network.
Over the RON 4 billion threshold
Distributor Fildas Trading, which, in 2018, earned the second spot in the pharmaceuticals distribution ranking, reached RON 4.2 billion in 2019, an increase of 16% compared to the previous year, according to the calculations made by Ziarul Financiar, based on the data provided by the company.
Fildas Trading increased its profit by 19% in 2019, up till RON 130 million.
In 2019, the company opened a new pharmaceuticals warehouse in Craiova, with an area of 10,000 sqm, after an investment of 1.5 million euros. The company owns a car park consisting of around 130 utility vans and 12 high capacity trucks, counting over 1,100 employees. The company’s portfolio has been growing year after year, at this moment Fildas Training distributing over 11,000 products from approximately 150 producers.
An article published in the printed version of Ziarul Financiar on March 2, 2020.