Kenyan-born serial entrepreneur Bharat Shah founded this wholesale drugs company in 1981 in the back of his chemist shop in Watford. Sigma now claims to supply more than 5,000 pharmacies and hospitals across southeast England. It can deliver the day after it receives an order. The company specialises in cheaper generic medications or “parallel imports” from continental Europe that are repackaged for sale in Britain. It also holds licences to produce more than 100 off-patent drugs such as Zocor and Zantac. All this helped to boost sales by £25m to £201.7m in 2004.

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Company details
Year2005
Rank103
CompanySigma Pharmaceuticals
ActivityPharmaceutical distributor
LocationWatford
Sales £m201.7
Operating profit £m4.5
Main shareholders

Bharat Shah and family (66%)

Staff175
Founded1975
Websitewww.sigmaplc.co.uk

If applicable:

* supplied by Company   † annualised figure   ‡  profit = ebitda