The UK’s largest independent pharmacy chain, The Day Lewis Group, has targeted the acquisition of a further 150 pharmacies after securing £160million funding from its banking partners.

The family-owned chemist chain currently owns 277 sites across the UK but aims to have more than 400 by 2021, doubling turnover as a result of its growth strategy.

The business has secured a £160million funding facility with a potential to extend to £210million, which will enable the business to consolidate a number of sister companies into the group, as well as providing the working capital to fund acquisitions.

The financial package has been provided by a consortium of banks, including Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, HSBC, Barclays and Santander.

Day Lewis Group is already the fifth largest multi-pharmacy chain in England and expects to grow its portfolio by more than 50 per cent over the next five years.

NHS dispensing and services provide the group’s main revenue streams. The group’s overall prescription dispensing has grown by 36% in the past year, while administration of flu jabs has doubled.

Sam Patel, director of Day Lewis Group, added: “The overall market for NHS dispensing in the UK is worth £15billion, and it’s growing at between three and five per cent a year.

“With the help of our banking partners, we are in a strong position to expand our family business over the next five years, through acquisitions and joint ventures.”

Jenny Tasker, relationship director, mid market healthcare and consumer services at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, added: “The UK’s £60bn pharmaceutical sector is one of our most valuable research-intensive industries, and pharmacy chains and suppliers are an integral part of this success story.

“We are delighted to be joining Day Lewis Group’s banking group at such an important juncture. This new facility marks a significant milestone in the company’s growth strategy.”

Day Lewis Group opened its doors for business in 1975 when its founders, Kirit & JC Patel, bought two pharmacies. It has since grown to employ more than 2,400 people, and it recently announced plans to expand internationally within four years. Kirit Patel remains the CEO of the group, and was awarded a MBE for his services to pharmacy in 2005.