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Cooper is a leading independent Over-the-Counter (OTC) drug manufacturer and distributor, providing OTC medicines, dietary supplements, and medical devices across various healthcare categories. Its diversified product portfolio includes leading international brands, which benefit from strong brand awareness. Headquartered in Paris, Cooper operates a distinctive business model with a unique distribution network and best-in-class sales force that has access to all 22,000 pharmacies across France.

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at a glance



Charterhouse invested in Cooper in January 2016, having identified the business through its European network and prior experience investing in both French healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Charterhouse approached the company directly and engaged with its management and shareholders to discuss the possibility of building a leading European OTC platform through the consolidation of the market. Charterhouse became the preferred partner of the company’s CEO and management team, which helped ensure a successful outcome of the limited auction.

Building a leading player through transformational acquisitions and strategic expansion

Under Charterhouse’s ownership, Cooper made two transformational acquisitions that led to the tripling of revenue generation outside of France. The acquisition of Vemedia, completed in October 2016, enabled the company to realise significant cost synergies and capitalise on additional cross-selling opportunities, resulting in the creation of the only independent pan-European OTC pharmaceuticals platform with a portfolio of international brands. This was complemented in June 2018 by the acquisition of Sanofi’s OTC portfolio in France and Italy, which significantly strengthened the Group’s Italian franchise, as well as its domestic presence. These acquisitions established Cooper as a truly pan-European platform, well-positioned to make several smaller acquisitions across Europe that further enhanced its positioning as a “one-stop-shop” for pharmacies.

In addition to its expansion via acquisitions, Charterhouse helped Cooper accelerate organic growth. With Charterhouse’s guidance, Cooper accelerated its product innovation and doubled its target for the number of new product launches per annum. This was achieved through the shortening of product development cycles, which enabled two ‘intercycle’ launches each year, as well as increased collaboration and investment in new product development across the Group. Cooper also invested in a significant upgrade of its trade marketing capabilities. With the support of Charterhouse’s portfolio team, metrics and processes were put in place to optimise pricing across channels as well as product availability.

The digitisation of Cooper’s processes and the automation of key systems were also a key driver of significant value creation under Charterhouse’s ownership. Cooper recruited a new Chief Digital Officer to improve its digital marketing efforts and to explore the development of online channels (both domestic and international), in what remains a highly regulated market.

Charterhouse helped Cooper formalise its approach to sustainability, with ESG responsibility, oversight and management assigned to members of the senior management team. New environmental policies and monitoring systems were introduced to ensure best practice was implemented across the Group. Initiatives included the introduction of a new, more efficient car fleet with significantly lower fuel consumption and the replacement of all the company’s packaging with recyclable cardboard. Additionally, Cooper implemented regular health and safety training sessions and signed an agreement with The High Council on Professional Equality which enshrined equal employment and progression opportunities for all employees.

Under Charterhouse’s ownership, Cooper was transformed from a largely domestic French business into a leading pan-European OTC platform that manufactures and distributes a diversified portfolio of branded and basic products on an international basis. Through the combination of strategic acquisitions and organic growth, Cooper more than doubled its revenues and earnings base between 2015 and 2020. In recognition of the substantial value creation achieved over the last six years, Charterhouse agreed the sale of Cooper in March 2021. As part of the deal, Charterhouse made a significant reinvestment in Cooper, to support the company’s further development and international expansion, and to benefit from its continued growth.

Cooper’s transformation is a showcase of how Charterhouse’s ability to build close relationships with management teams, plan and execute buy-and-build strategies, and implement organic growth initiatives, come together in a powerful way to drive value creation.