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Just what the doctor ordered- 100 years of EBOS success

One thing we're really proud of in our organisation is that we … probably handle over 50 per cent of medicines that are prescribed by individuals in either New Zealand or Australia.”


Founded in Christchurch in the 1920s, Early Brothers Trading Company started off selling lights, lanterns, gas stoves and other electrical fittings. In 1990 the company expanded and made a significant move into the healthcare sector. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength.


Known today as EBOS Group, the company has become the largest and most diversified wholesaler and distributor of healthcare, medical and pharmaceutical products in Australasia, handling about half of all medicines prescribed in New Zealand and Australia.


At a recent event in Auckland to celebrate the company's 100th year in business, Chief Executive Officer John Cullity outlined the company’s significant growth in the last decade.


“One thing we're really proud of in our organisation is that we, our organisation, probably handles over 50 per cent of medicines that are prescribed by individuals in either New Zealand or Australia,” he said.


EBOS also realised the pet market was growing and quickly moved into animal healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Today EBOS Group has a strong commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles, including reducing carbon emissions and supporting charities.


During the acute phase of COVID-19 the critical role a company like EBOS played became very evident. And it still is today – for both our human and animal families.


“I think what we have found in both countries is the importance of the pharmacy channel as a provision of health services to the population,” John says. “And also the other part of our business being animal care has also seen a rapid uptake in terms of volumes because people … restricted in their activities at home, decide to buy pets.


“Now we're now treating pets as part of the family. So we’re providing a better quality of food and treats for them.”



A key part of the company’s success can be linked to its acquisition of prominent pharmacy distribution business Pro Pharma in 1990. This deal served as a springboard for the company’s growth in New Zealand and in 2013 EBOS invested in a similar Australian business called Symbion.


John says bringing these two businesses together, in what was a $1.1 billion deal, was a "stellar success,” creating what is now the pre-eminent Australasian business distributing medicines into retail pharmacy and hospitals and providing pharmacy logistics services.


ANZ values partnerships with companies that share a sense of purpose and EBOS is a prime example. It is a partnership ANZ is proud of and hopes will continue for at least another 100 years.


Antonia Watson is CEO of ANZ New Zealand



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