Apollo Hospitals has accelerated its pharmacy expansion during the current financial year with the target of reaching around 3,000 stores in the next six months. 

The healthcare major manages the largest organised pharmacy retail chain in the country with around 2,742 outlets as on September 30, 2017.

The company is planning to add a total of 300 stores a year from this year, as compared to the 200 stores per year growth until last year. "We have already added 191 stores in the first half of the financial year, which is significantly higher than what we added last year. We would want to take our overall standalone pharmacy count to at least 3,000 stores in the next six months," said Akhileswaran Krishnan, chief financial officer of Apollo Hospitals.

"There were some gaps in the overall store additions in a few states and cities and we thought it is a good opportunity because we saw good sales happening in some of these places, such as in Karnataka in particular," he added. The plans are to have a total of 3,000 outlets by the first quarter of the next financial year.

"As of now, we are looking at aggressive growth next year also," he added.

In the first half of the financial year, Apollo Hospitals has added 191 stores and closed five stores, for a net addition of 186 stores. The revenue from the pharmacy segment grew by 19 per cent to Rs 1,592.3 crore during the first six months of the financial year, from Rs 1,342.4 crore during the same period of the previous financial year. The earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (Ebitda) grew 19 per cent from Rs 56.7 crore in the first six months of the last financial year to Rs 67.6 crore in the first half of the current financial year. The Ebitda margin was at 4.24 per cent in the first six months of the current financial year compared to 4.22 per cent in the corresponding period of the last financial year. The private label sales as on September 30 were at 6.57 per cent.

The revenue per store was at five per cent for the pre-2008 batch of stores, with Ebitda margins remaining at 7.3 per cent. The stores set up before financial year 2010 marked an Ebitda growth of seven per cent, with an Ebitda margin of 6.7 per cent.

In 2014, it acquired Hyderabad-based Hetero Med Solutions for a consideration of Rs 146 crore, adding around 320 outlets to its portfolio. Out of this, around 258 outlets were operational as of September 2017 and saw a revenue per store growth of 17.2 per cent compared to the same quarter last year.