The UK's Office of Fair Trading says it has conditionally cleared Lloyds Pharmacy's proposed £60 million acquisition of the Stockport-based Independent Pharmacy Care Centres.

The regulator says that it will not refer the acquisition of IPPC, which was originally announced in April to the Competition Commission, if satisfactory undertakings are given to address the competition concerns arising from the supply of retail pharmacy services in certain areas in the UK.

The OFT’s director of mergers, Simon Pritchard, said that “although these undertakings will address the effects of the merger, we reiterate that there is a strong case on behalf of consumers for the government to reconsider its restrictions on new entry into this sector”.

Lloyd’s is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Germany’s Celesio and the latter had considered making an offer for rival Alliance Boots before the private equity firm KKR announced its intention to take the group private after its expected takeover.