LONDON May 15 Alliance Boots, which runs Europe's largest pharmacy chain, has made more synergies than expected so far with U.S. drugstore chain operator Walgreen Co, it said, as it reported a 18.5 percent rise in underlying attributable profit.
Alliance Boots, in which Walgreen bought a 45 percent stake in 2012 with an option to buy the rest in 2015, reported sales for the year to March 31 rose 4.3 percent to 23.4 billion pounds ($39.26 billion), with underlying profit of 840 million pounds.
"Our joint synergy programme with Walgreens is increasingly providing us with significant financial benefits," Alliance Boots said in a statement. "While still at an early stage, we are pleased with the overall progress of the programme, total synergies achieved to date tracking ahead of target."
Walgreens reported a lower-than-expected profit for the quarter ended Feb. 28 but said it expected a bigger boost this year from its partnership with Alliance Boots.
Last week, Alliance Boots agreed to buy Grupo Casa Saba SAB de CV's pharmacy networks in Mexico and Chile. ($1 = 0.5960 British Pounds) (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; editing by Kate Holton)