Veterinary consolidator sells Irish and Dutch consultations for $2 – News


British corporate consolidator CVS Group has pulled out of Ireland and the Netherlands, selling all of its veterinary practices in both countries for just €2 ($2.17).

The clinics, which have been losing money, are being sold to a company created by Dr. James Cahill, a veterinarian and former head of international operations at CVS.

It is not unusual for financially unprofitable companies to be sold for negligible sums, as some form of exchange must take place for a contract to exist.

In announcing the deal today in a market report, CVS did not say how many practices are involved. According to its website, it has four practices in Ireland and 27 in the Netherlands.

The move marks a significant setback in the group’s global expansion ambitions, coming six years after its entry into Ireland and eight years after its entry into the Netherlands.

It also comes as governments around the world increasingly scrutinize levels of corporate ownership in the profession amid above-inflation increases in the cost of veterinary care.

A bill introduced in Ireland in 2021 and still under consideration would prohibit non-veterinarians from owning veterinary practices there.

Meanwhile, the Dutch government is considering laws that would limit acquisitions of veterinary practices by large corporations and cap the price of certain veterinary treatments.

CVS also faces pressure from national regulators. In March, UK authorities raised the possibility of capping veterinary prescription fees and forcing large companies to sell their practices, pending the outcome of a competition investigation.

CVS’s Irish and Dutch practices posted a combined loss of 6.8 million pounds ($8.6 million) in fiscal 2023. In its announcement, CVS said it was selling those practices due to their “subscale nature ” and “particular challenges” in the respective veterinary markets of the two countries.

“These operations have had a negative contribution to the group’s operating cash flows, and a significant management approach would be required to address operating performance,” the company said.

CVS said it would prefer to invest in Australia, signaling it is prepared to buy more practices in Australia, a market the company entered last year.

“We have exciting plans to expand in Australia, and this sale will free up working capital and management capacity to support our continued expansion,” company chief executive Richard Fairman said in his statement.

Cahill, who resides in Greystones, Ireland, worked for CVS for six years. As well as selling the internship to his company for a nominal sum, CVS also loaned Cahill’s company £600,000 ($472,000).

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