Today medicines are readily available for many people thanks to a good network of wholesalers and retailers, plus the state healthcare system. Credit is also due to our founder, Franz Ludwig Gehe. With the founding of his drugs and dyes business, Gehe und Comp., in Dresden in 1835, the businessman also aimed to make medicine – then a luxury – an item that the ordinary person could afford.

1835-1902 back to top


1835 Company founded

Franz Ludwig Gehe
1835: Franz Ludwig Gehe founds the drugs and dyes business Gehe & Comp.

Businessman Franz Ludwig Gehe (1810-1882) founds the drugs and dyes business Gehe & Comp. on 1 May 1835 in Dresden. In doing so, he lays the foundation for McKesson Europe.

1885 Inauguration of the Gehe Foundation

Lecture hall of Gehe Foundation
1885: Opening of Gehe Foundation

After the death of Franz Ludwig Gehe in 1882, the company opens the Gehe Foundation. The founder arranged for the creation of the foundation, with the aim of forming an educational establishment, in his last will and testament. The aim is also to allow employees to achieve further education and trainings further for free. In 1902 the foundation achieves academy status. The foundation's lecturers are each awarded the title of professor. The foundation's library is the largest library in political science in Saxony.

1887 Street naming in Dresden

Street naming
Gehe Street named in Dresden

Five years after the death of Franz Ludwig Gehe, a street in Dresden is named after the company's founder. Gehestrasse is located near to where the Gehe site was at that point.

1903-1947 back to top


1903 Entry to the stock market

Historical shares
1903: Entry to the stock market

The drugs and dyes business Gehe & Comp. opens up to the capital market and trades as the public limited company Gehe & Co. AG with share capital of 2 million Deutschmarks. One year later, the shares are admitted to trading on the Dresden stock exchange.

1910 First edition of the Gehe Codex

Gehes Codex
Cover of the Gehes Codex

The first edition of the Gehe Digest [Gehes Codex] is published. The reference work is for pharmacists and doctors and contains the composition, usage and production of all pharmaceutical specialities. The digest is the predecessor of today's so-called Rote Liste.

1934 First foreign subsidiary in Spain

Anzeige Productos Quimincos Gehe
Spanish advertisement for the Agobilin product

A private company is founded in Barcelona to better organise the business in Spain. Productos Quimicos Gehe is the first foreign subsidiary.

1935 Gehe's 100th anniversary

View into office of head office in Dresden
Head office in Dresden in 1935

Gehe & Co. AG marks its 100th anniversary with a small celebration at the plant in Dresden. Meanwhile, the company has established itself as a drug wholesaler and producer of pharmaceutical and chemical products. The most well-known product is Vita Maltyl.

1948-1994 back to top


1948 Company head office in Munich

Standort München
1948: Company head office in Munich

After the Second World War and the division of Germany, work starts on reconstructing the wholesale business from Munich. The subsidiaries in Sulzbach-Rosenberg and Kassel, plus the shareholding in C. H. Burk GmbH in Stuttgart form the basis for the reconstruction. In Dresden, the Gehe parent company continues as a state-owned business under the name Heilchemie. The factories in Saxony undergo a compulsory purchase and are converted into state-owned plants.

1973 Majority shareholder Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH

Haniel premises in Duisburg
1973: Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH is majority shareholder of Gehe & Co. AG with 84 per cent of the shares.

On 1 January 1973, Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH becomes the majority shareholder of Gehe & Co. AG with 84 per cent of the shares. The long-standing family-owned company located in Duisburg has meanwhile developed into a mixed group with trade, services and production.

1981 Company head office in Stuttgart

Company head office in Stuttgart
1981: Company head office in Stuttgart

The Gehe head office is moved from Munich to Stuttgart. The city is home to the longest-standing wholesale subsidiary of the group.

1990 Investment programme in Germany

Subsidiary in East Germany
New subsidiary in East Germany

After the fall of the Berlin wall, Gehe begins to invest extensively in East Germany and sets up six new subsidiaries, including one at the founding site in Dresden. As a result, the company provides pharmacists with medicines from 17 subsidiaries in Germany.

1993 Restructuring

Delivery to pharmacy in Brussels (Belgium)
GEHE expands its foreign business with subsidiaries in Belgium for example

The pharmaceuticals wholesaler is spun off to become GEHE Pharma Handel GmbH. Other business operations form their own business divisions. GEHE AG functions as the holding company. With the acquisition of a majority holding in the French pharmaceutical wholesaler Office Commercial Pharmaceutique OCP S. A. the group becomes the largest European pharmaceutical wholesaler with its key operations in Belgium, Germany, France, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Russia.

1995-2002 back to top


1995 Entry into the pharmacy business

Hills pharmacy
1995: Entry into the pharmacy business through the acquisition of AAH which runs the pharmacy chain Hills

Gehe enters the pharmacy business with its purchase of the British company AAH PLC. AAH runs the British pharmacy chain Hills and is the largest pharmaceutical wholesaler in Great Britain and Ireland. In 1997, GEHE enlarges its pharmacy business by purchasing the second largest pharmacy chain in Great Britain, which includes almost 1,000 pharmacies: Lloyds Chemists PLC.

1997 Expansion of pharmacy business

Lloyds Chemists pharmacy
GEHE purchases Britain's second largest pharmacy chain Lloyds Chemist

GEHE purchases the second largest pharmacy chain in Great Britain which includes almost 1,000 pharmacies: Lloyds Chemists PLC.

1999 Largest European pharmacy chain

Lloydspharmacy outside
Pharmacy of the British chain Lloydspharmacy

By merging Hills and Lloyds pharmacies in Great Britain, the largest European pharmacy chain is formed under the LloydsPharmacy name. In the Czech Republic, GEHE acquires and opens 30 pharmacies in the following year. The company purchases more pharmacies in Bologna, Italy thanks to it winning a contract as part of a privatisation procedure.

2000 Purchase of the market leader in Austrian pharmaceutical wholesale

img - History-2000_HerbaChemosan-Box
Majority takeover of Austrian firm Herba Chemosan AG

GEHE becomes the majority shareholder of Herba Chemosan Apotheker AG, the number one pharmaceutical wholesaler in Austria.

2001 Purchase of the market leader in Norwegian pharmaceutical wholesale

Norsk-Medisinaldepot-Box od. -Logo
GEHE takes over the Norwegian pharmaceutical wholesaler Norsk Medisinaldepot

GEHE takes over Norsk Medisinaldepot, the market leader in Norwegian pharmaceutical wholesale. GEHE also enters the pharmacy sector here, just as in Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands.

2003-2013 back to top


2003 GEHE AG becomes Celesio AG

Celesio AG, head office in Stuttgart
2003: GEHE AG changes its name to become Celesio AG

With an overwhelming majority, the Annual General Meeting resolves to change the name of the company from GEHE AG to Celesio AG. Celesio is the top pharmaceutical distributor on the European market. GEHE is a leader in wholesale activities in Germany and the Czech Republic.

2004 Entry to the market in South East Europe

Kemofarmacija head office in Slovenia
Celesio purchases shares of the Slovenian pharmaceutical wholesaler Kemofarmacija

The expansion of the Celesio Group progresses. As a result, Celesio purchases shares in pharmaceutical wholesalers in Slovenia, Romania and Croatia.

2006 Entry to the market in Denmark

Head office of K.V. Tjellesen in Denmark
2006: Entry to the market in Denmark

The business divisions Celesio Wholesale and Celesio Services enter a new market with the purchase of K.V. Tjellesen and Max Jenne in Denmark. During the same year, shares are split and the company switches to registered shares to make Celesio shares more attractive.

2007 Entry to the mail-order market

DocMorris logo
Celesio acquires DocMorris and enters the mail order market as a result

Celesio purchases DocMorris, Germany's most well-known pharmacy brand and Europe's largest mail-order pharmacy. Over the following years, pharmacies are opened in Ireland and Sweden under the DocMorris brand. In 2012, Celesio resolves to sell the mail-order pharmacy and brand.

2009 Entry to the market in Brazil

Dr Oesterle (Celesio) and Panarello (Panpharma) handshake
2009: Entry to the market in Brazil by puchase of Panpharma; left: Dr Oesterle (Celesio), right: P Panarello (Panpharma)

Celesio expands its activities abroad and enters the South American market by purchasing a majority stake in Panpharma, the number one on the Brazilian pharmaceutical wholesale market. In the following year, Celesio also acquires 60 per cent in the Brazilian Oncoprod Group, a distributor in speciality pharmaceuticals such as drugs for cancer treatment.

2010 Entry to the market in Sweden

Apotheke in Schweden
DocMorris pharmacy in Sweden

The establishment of a private pharmacy chain in Sweden begins with the opening of the first six retail pharmacies under the DocMorris Apotek brand.

2012 Creation of the European Pharmacy Network

Our innovative pharmacy concept
Our innovative pharmacy concept

The European Pharmacy Network integrates the private Celesio pharmacies and Celesio's partner pharmacies to form a cooperative. As a result, Celesio aims to become the leading pharmacy brand in Europe. At the same time, the partnership with independent pharmacies will be consolidated and expanded. 

2014 -TODAY back to top

2014 -TODAY

2014 McKesson Corporation becomes majority shareholder

McKesson head office in San Francisco, USA
2014: McKesson Corporation becomes majority shareholder

The McKesson Corporation in America acquires more than 75 per cent of Celesio's shares from Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH and so becomes the new majority shareholder of Celesio.

2016 Strategic focus on European markets

img - Close-up Hände Apothekerin
Celesio expands its services across Europe

After selling its Brazilian business, Celesio’s strategic focus is on European markets. Celesio acquires Sainsbury’s pharmacy business and Bupa Home Healthcare (now: Lloyds Pharmacy Clinical Homecare) in the UK, and Belmedis, the Belgian distribution business of the France-based cooperative Welcoop. In Portugal Celesio acquires Holon, a major branded network of independent pharmacies.

2017 Renaming to McKesson Europe

Grand Opening of the new head office in Stuttgart
Grand Opening of the new head office in Stuttgart

Celesio moves into a new head office in Stuttgart (Europe Plaza).

On 12 September 2017, Celesio AG has officially announced its renaming to McKesson Europe AG, based on the shareholders’ decision at the Annual General Meeting 2017.

2018 First Europe-wide Corporate Responsibility Report

img - History-2018 CR Report
McKesson Europe’s first Europe-wide Corporate Responsibility Report in English

McKesson Europe has published its first Europe-wide insights (PDF 2,1 MB) into its sustainable handling of economic and ecological resources and informs readers about its commitment to social responsibility.