Femsa Comercio, a Mexican convenience store chain, has agreed to acquire a majority equity stake in drugstore operator Grupo Socofar for $998m.

The company will enter South American drugstore business by acquiring 60% stake in Socofar, whose remaining 40% stake will continue to be owned by the current controlling shareholders.

Through this acquisition, Femsa Comercio will secure capabilities in the operation of standalone beauty store retail banners, pharmaceutical distribution to third-party clients, and the production of generic and bioequivalent pharmaceuticals.

Based in Santiago, Chile, Grupo Socofar currently operates 643 drugstores and 154 beauty stores throughout Chile under the Cruz Verde and Maicao banners, respectively.

Socofar also operates Farmasanitas in Colombia that operates over 150 pharmacies, in-site pharmacies and dispensary units under the Cruz Verde/Farmasanitas banners.

It also produces generic and bioequivalent pharmaceuticals in Chile.

Femsa Comercio CEO Eduardo Padilla said: "This is the right transaction for us, as it provides a strong regional platform to grow from. Socofar brings tremendous value not only through its robust store network and its advanced distribution capabilities, but through the deep expertise of its excellent management team and shareholders.

"We believe there is a strong fit with our obsessive consumer focus and collaborative culture, and we welcome our more than 12,000 new Socofar colleagues onto the Femsa growth and development platform."