Ownership structure and financial performance: A study of the Italian retail pharmacies

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Emidia Vagnoni ORCID logo, Chiara Oppi ORCID logo, Caterina Cavicchi ORCID logo


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This study examines if differences in the financial performance of companies managing retail pharmacies can be detected based on governance factors. These factors refer to ownership type, group belonging, and a number of retail pharmacies owned. Based on a sample of 116 companies managing retail pharmacies in Italy, analyses of variance are conducted to assess the effects of governance factors on financial performance considering profitability, liquidity, and leverage ratios. Results showed that privately-owned companies tended to perform better than publicly owned and mixed ownership companies. Further, independent companies presented better financial performance than companies belonging to a group, while companies managing a single store presented better financial performance than those with multiple stores. This work sheds light on the governance factors that have an effect on companies managing retail pharmacies’ financial performance. It contributes to the literature suggesting that private ownership can foster companies’ profitability, also in the form of mixed ownership, and discusses the findings with reference to policymaking and practitioners’ utility. The paper is the first contribution to a field that is quite under-investigated, concerning the drivers of financial performance, as pharmacies represent a public service combining both profitability orientation and the accomplishment of social interest.

Keywords: Retail Pharmacy, Financial Performance, Governance, Ownership

Authors’ individual contribution: Conceptualization – E.V. and C.C.; Methodology – C.O. and C.C.; Validation – E.V.; Formal Analysis – C.O.; Investigation – C.O. and C.C.; Writing – Original Draft – C.O. and C.C.; Writing – Review & Editing – E.V.; Supervision – E.V.

Declaration of conflicting interests: The Authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

JEL Classification: M41

Received: 27.06.2020
Accepted: 07.09.2020
Published online: 10.09.2020

How to cite this paper: Vagnoni, E., Oppi, C., & Cavicchi, C. (2020). Ownership structure and financial performance: A study of the Italian retail pharmacies. Corporate Ownership & Control, 18(1), 22-33. http://doi.org/10.22495/cocv18i1art2