National Vet Care buys NZ group for $23m

National Vet Care buys NZ group for $23m

National Veterinary Care (ASX: NVL) may need to consider a name change as it grooms an international business through the acquisition of Pet Doctors Group in New Zealand.

After a trading halt on Monday and an oversubscribed placement offer that raised $18 million yesterday, the Gold Coast-based group today announced it would be purchasing the New Zealand company for $22.7 million.

Once the acquisition is settled, most likely in November, the deal will make NVL the market leader for veterinary services in New Zealand's companion animal sector, adding a further 33 clinics and two training centres to its existing network of 67 businesses on both sides of the Tasman.

The group hopes the significantly larger business will enble NVL to leverage supplier deals and other procurement benefits to achieve growth in a managed services division which launched in NZ in August. 

Pet Doctors Group is expected to deliver annualised revenue and annualised EBIT of NZD31.2 million ($28.6 million) and NZD4.5 million ($4.13 million) respectively

NVL CEO and managing director Tomas Steenackers says the executive team is delighted to bring Pet Doctors into the National Vet Care stable.

"The Pet Doctors acquisition will be our largest acquisition since listing on the ASX in 2015 and is an excellent strategic fit with NVL's existing business, in particular expanding its New Zealand footprint," he says.

"The compatibility of systems between NVL and Pet Doctors will streamline the integration of the Pet Doctors clinics. We plan to deploy a number of NVL systems, including our wellness program, across all clinics within 120 days from settlement.

"This acquisition will continue to leverage the investment made in our systems and our people during FY18 and will also result in NVL having strong leadership and increased support office capabilities located in New Zealand to support the larger clinic network."

NVL shares initially responded positively to the announcement with a slight 2.6 per cent uplift but closed flat at $2.35 per share. 

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