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Alliance Boots profit tops £1bn for first time

BRITAIN'S biggest pharmacy chain Alliance Boots has posted annual profits of more than £1bn – becoming only the third UK retailer to pass that milestone.

The group, bought in 2007 by private equity firm KKR and executive chairman Stefano Pessina for £11bn in Europe's biggest leveraged buyout, said the 13 per cent increase in trading profit made it confident of coping with subdued consumer demand across Europe in the coming year.

Tesco and Marks & Spencer are the only other British retailers to have produced annual profits over the £1bn mark.

Alliance Boots' revenue for the year to 31 March rose 9.6 per cent to £22.5bn, including a 10.3 per cent increase at its wholesale arm and a 5.2 per cent rise at its health and beauty division.

Net debt fell £645m to £8.39bn