February 21, 2019 / 1:42 PM / in 3 months

Pharmacy chain CVS eyes exit from Brazil -report

SAO PAULO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - CVS Health Corp has contacted banks to explore the sale of its Drogaria Onofre chain in Brazil, a newspaper reported on Thursday, which could result in the U.S.-based pharmacy chain’s exit from Latin America’s largest country.

The firm is willing to sell the Onofre chain for less money that it paid for it, due to the drugstore’s shrinking market share in recent years, newspaper Estado de S.Paulo wrote, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

CVS had purchased Drogaria Onofre in 2013 for 700 million reais ($187 million). In 2012, according to Brazilian pharmacy association Abrafarma, the chain was the eighth largest in Brazil, but has since fallen out of the top 20.

Onofre currently has 51 stores, Estado said. Market leader Raia Drogasil SA has around 1,800 stores.

CVS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company told Estado it did not comment on market rumors.

The report did not name which banks CVS had contacted about the potential sale.

$1 = 3.74 reais Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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