No pause in growth at vet group as acquisitions bolster turnover

CVS veterinary practice group chief executive Simon Innes.PHOTO: Nick Butcher

CVS veterinary practice group chief executive Simon Innes.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Veterinary business CVS Group saw turnover soar in the latter half of 2017 after investing £30m in practices.

The Diss-based company, a member of the EDP/EADT Top 100 list of the largest businesses by turnover in Norfolk and Suffolk, saw revenues rise to £157.8m in the six month to December 31, up from £129.4m for the same period the year before.

Adjusted profit before tax also rose 11% to £18.3m from £16.5m.

During the period CVS bought 30 surgeries, for around £30.2m, with a further four acquired in 2018 so far for £3.5m.

The company said further acquisitions remained part of its plans for growth as well as expanding its range of products, developing new sites and growing its pet insurance business.

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In a statement chairman Richard Connell said: 'The first half of the year saw a higher level of volatility in sales than in the past, but recent months have appeared more regular.

'With our wide range of organic opportunities, healthy cash generation and a strong acquisition pipeline, the board looks forward with confidence to the remainder of the year and beyond.

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'The board believes that the UK veterinary sector will continue to provide opportunities for further consolidation and strategic acquisitions across each of the small animal, equine and farm animal segments.

'It is pleasing to note that, even following an extended period of exceptionally high activity, the group's pipeline of potential acquisitions remains very strong, both in the UK and in the Netherlands.'

As well as veterinary surgeries CVS has a crematoria division, laboratory division – which provides diagnostic and analysis services to other companies' practices, and online medicine dispensary Animed Direct.

The group, which has its headquarters at Owen Road in Diss, has been focussing on its apprenticeship programme in recent months with 95 of its 125 learners joining since September.

Mr Connell added the company had developed five small animal sites, including at Beccles in 2016, which had now become profitable.

He said a larger greenfield site had been opened in Norwich in 2017 and its progress would be monitored as CVS eyed further developments.

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