Cara Pharmacy acquires Abbey Healthcare

Transaction gives Cara a presence in Dublin and Cork and boosts turnover to €40m

The Cara Pharmacy group, owned by husband and wife team Canice and Ramona Nicholas, has bought Abbey Healthcare in a deal that brings the firm to Dublin and Cork.

Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed but Cara said the takeover would push revenues to about €40 million, as employee numbers increase from 160 to 245.

Formerly the healthcare division of Hayes Conyngham and Robinson (HCR), Abbey was set up in 2009 following the sale of HCR to Boots. The business specialises in providing outsourcing pharmacy services to nursing homes, long-term care institutions and hospitals. The group, which employs 85 people, operates outlets in Dún Laoghaire in Dublin and in Bishopstown, Cork.

Its Dublin operation was the second highest recipient of HSE pharmacy fees in the State in 2015, receiving €866,572 for dispensing drugs and medicines under various Government schemes.


Established in 2002, the Cara chain has expanded to 14 pharmacies. Its online business accounts for about €1 million in annual revenues.

Nationwide presence

The group reported turnover of €25.3 million last year although Ms Nicholas recently spoke about her wish to double revenues to €50 million with growth coming in part from expansion to Dublin.

Ms Nicholas is well known after completing two series of the RTÉ Series Dragons' Den and also appearing on The Secret Millionaire. She is a finalist in this year's EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Speaking to The Irish Times, she said talks with Abbey Healthcare had been ongoing for about nine months.

"The deal means we have a nationwide presence for the first time, making us the only indigenous pharmacy in Ireland that is in the four provinces," said Ms Nicholas.

She said the company would be focusing on consolidation over the next 12 months but would seek more sites in Dublin. She said there were no immediate plans to change the composition of Abbey Healthcare.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist