Pharmaceuticals retailers Celesio and Phoenix said they are merging their activities, making the new joint venture company number two in terms of sales in the Dutch pharmacy market.

The new company will have 115 own pharmacies and about 40 franchised shops. It will have 1,600 employees after the merger and generate revenue in excess of e1.1bn (£900m), Celesio said. Celesio operates under the Lloyds Apotheken banner in the Netherlands and Phoenix trades from Escura Apotheken outlets.