Hong Kong company buys Drogas chain

A Hong Kong-based company has acquired the well-known Drogas chain of health and beauty stores in Latvia and Lithuania, and a company official said the new owner plans to grow the brand regionally.

A.S. Watson, the retail and manufacturing division of conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. of Hong Kong, said June 4 that it has acquired the 59 Drogas stores in Latvia and 24 more in Lithuania.

Drogas, established in 1993, controls 30 percent of Latvia’s health and beauty market, A.S. Watson said in a press release. Drogas expanded to Lithuania in 2001 and has plans to open three more stores there this month.

“This is an important milestone for Drogas as well as the country, being one of the first major foreign investments since Latvia and Lithuania joined the (European Union),” Andrejs Jernevs, general manager of Drogas, said in a prepared statement.

Ian Wade, managing director of A.S. Watson, said Latvia and Lithuania are a springboard to the Baltic, the Nordic market and the CIS. “The region’s recent accession to the EU gives it a new powerful impulse to the creation of a free, secure and prosperous economy. We see great potential in the markets,” Wade said in prepared comments.

Terms of the acquisition were not announced.

A.S. Watson operates 13 retail brands with nearly 3,700 stores. The company employs 64,000 people. Last year, it reported turnover of more than USD 8 billion.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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