Food and pharmaceutical retailer Metro has completed the previously announced acquisition of Canadian pharmacy retailing firm The Jean Coutu Group in a deal valued at $4.5bn.

With the acquisition, which was initially announced in October last year, Jean Coutu Group becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Metro, merging all its pharmacy operations.

The transaction now forms a new $16bn merged entity combining pharmaceutical retail stores of both the companies in the country.

"Together, we want to create a new retail leader offering consumers a food and pharmacy experience customised to their needs for years to come."

Metro president and CEO Eric La Flèche said: “The combined entity will develop the full potential of our two banners, Jean Coutu and Brunet, in order to strengthen our market presence and better meet consumers’ needs.

“Together, we want to create a new retail leader offering consumers a food and pharmacy experience customised to their needs for years to come.”

Jean Coutu Group president François Coutu will continue in his role and joins Metro’s board of directors along with the company’s executive vice-president Michel Coutu.

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Metro expects that the combined entity will generate $1.3bn in operating income as well as $75n in annual cost reductions after three years.

Coutu said: “We showcase popular major brands, known for their commitment to consumer health and well-being.

“Our operational efficiency will enable us to implement systems and processes, while ensuring that consumers receive high-quality, personalised service from our owner pharmacists.”

Based in Québec and Ontario, Metro operates more than 600 food stores and 250 drugstores across Canada.

Food stores are operated under Food Basics, Metro, Super C and Metro Plus brands, while the drugstores are operated under Brunet, Drug Basics and Metro Pharmacy brands.