Diss veterinary group CVS posts turnover rise

Growing veterinary group CVS has managed to record a 'significant' rise in turnover and launched a new online business despite tough trading conditions.

The firm, based in Diss, has announced turnover of �85.5m for the year to the end of June, up 11.6pc on last year.

However, pre-tax profits at the firm, which has 211 surgeries across the UK, were down 13.6pc to �3.8m, compared to �4.4m in 2009, according to its preliminary results announced yesterday.

Like-for-like sales saw a decrease of 2.8pc in the fourth quarter of last year.

Chairman Richard Connell said the severe winter, stopping vets getting to customers and customers getting to surgeries, and hard-pressed customers cutting back on discretionary spending had meant some lost revenues.

As a result the firm launched an online dispensary and pet shop, Animed Direct, in July.

During the year it also bought 41 surgeries and a laboratory, including competitor Pet Doctors, which alone added 27 surgeries to CVS' portfolio.

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He said: 'The board remains cautiously optimistic about the group's future with further growth opportunities supported by strong cash generation and a slow return to more favourable economic conditions.'

Chief executive, Simon Innes, said: 'CVS has delivered sustained growth in revenue and operating cash flow in the year.

'Like–for-like sales showed slight growth after excluding the weather affected months of December 2009 and January 2010.

'These results demonstrate the veterinary profession's ability to be largely resilient to tougher trading conditions.

'However, in light of the more challenging and competitive landscape, the group has responded with a number of measures aimed at augmenting the organic business and developing new revenue streams.'

CVS was founded in 1999 and floated on the stock market in 2007. It now employs about 2,200 people, including some 500 vets at 211 surgeries, six laboratories, one pet crematoria and the online dispensary.

The firm estimates that it now has a nine to 10pc share of the UK small animal veterinary market measured by wholesaler spend, which it says shows an opportunity for further consolidation in the market.

The firm said no dividends would be issued, instead reinvesting the cash into the business.