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Boots pays pounds 175m for German skincare firm

Boots yesterday fulfilled a long-standing ambition to break into the German healthcare market when Boots Healthcare International paid pounds 175m for Merck's medical skincare company, Hermal Kurt Herrman, writes Nigel Cope.

The deal gives Boots a presence in the pounds 1.6bn German skincare market and follows its move into France last year, when it acquired the French skincare group Lutsia for pounds 115m.

David Thompson, finance director of Boots, said: "This is a significant acquisition for Boots, fulfilling a long-established strategic objective to achieve a presence for BHI in Germany. It underlines our confidence in the prospects of the division and our commitment to the long-term growth of the business." He said the deal was initially expected to be earnings- neutral.

Boots said the deal would open up the German market for BHI, its over- the-counter healthcare business whose products include Neurofen, Strepsils and the skin cream E45. Boots said it would consider other acquisitions for the business.