Pets at Home buys veterinary practices

Handforth-based Pets at Home has bought two veterinary specialist referral businesses.

Eye-Vet Referrals (EVR), based in Frodsham, a dedicated opthalmology centre with six veterinary clinicians, will operate as a shared venture, with the founders retaining 10% equity ownership.

It already provides services to one of Pets at Homes’ referral centres, NorthWest Surgeons, as well as to other primary opinion veterinary practices.

Dick White Referrals (DWR), based in Cambridgeshire, employs 31 veterinary specialists and is one of the UK’s largest small animal specialist referral centres, treating over 5,000 cases each year.

Pets at Home has acquired a 76% ownership stake in DWR for  £14.1m.

It will operate the practice as a shared venture model through which the founder, Professor Dick White, and the key clinicians, will retain 24% equity ownership.

Ian Kellett, chief executive of Pets at Home, said: “These new shared ventures represent another strategic step in building our presence in the specialist referrals market, whilst also enhancing our reputation with the UK’s veterinary clinicians.

“We have grown our specialist referrals division to four centres in just over a year and see further opportunities in the veterinary market that will deliver growth and attractive returns.”

Last week the Cheshire-based retailer said its full year pre-tax profits would fall between £93m and £97m.

The company opened  27 stores during the last year, taking the portfolio total to 427 – almost 60% of its stores now include a vets practice.

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