Animal owners in the United Kingdom probably do not realize it, but their local veterinarian clinic may be bought up by one of seven veterinary medicine providers. CVS is one of the U.K.’s largest veterinary medicine providers, and the group are buying up veterinary clinics all over the country.
CVS owns over 370 veterinary surgeries throughout the U.K. The group also operates laboratories and pet crematoria. However, these are not the only veterinarian pet service areas CVS has its hands in.
CVS owns Animed Direct, an online store that sells medicine, pet food and other animal products.
CVS was established in 1999 with the aim of consolidating thousands of small animal clinics and services. The corporate structure the group introduced has led it to be a major player in the animal care service. The veterinary industry was deregulated in 1999, which allowed CVS to grow and build its animal service empire.
CVS chief executive Simon Innes joined the company from Vision Express. He believes the veterinary industry’s deregulation was similar to that of optometry.
“Deregulation in the optical industry took place decades ago, which then prompted the likes of Specsavers and Vision Express,” Innes explained. “Before deregulation in veterinary, it had been difficult for vets to grow their businesses.”
Since Innes joined CVS in 2004, the company has added more than 350 veterinarian services. His time in charge of the group has seen it grow from 12 veterinary surgeries to the number it is today. A truly astounding feat in just over 10 years of service to the company.
CVS has entered into a new phase of expansion in the last year. The group has bought up 67 veterinary surgeries and one pet crematoria. The group also hope to add surgeries in the Republic of Ireland. In addition, CVS will move into mainland Europe, and have deals in place for three veterinary clinics in the Netherlands. Innes says those deals will be done by Christmas as the CVS spending spree continues.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Innes stated that the Netherlands is just the beginning of expansion outside the British and Irish Isles. “We will go into other countries. Expansion of CVS won’t end at Holland,” Innes says.
Veterinary medicine is rapidly changing and so is the old model of clinic ownership. In the past, veterinarians would pass their practice on to a colleague or family member. That has changed. “The succession plan of the past has largely disappeared because prices have gone up, everybody’s mortgages have ballooned and the profession has become a lot more feminine,” Innes says.
“Women tend to take one or two years off to have children, and many want to come back part-time, so they don’t have the funds. “You are also now paying five years of university fees, it is simply unaffordable. So, over the past 15 years we have seen a natural increase in the number of practices deciding to sell up.”
Innes stresses that many new vets are leaving the industry after a short period of work. CVS’s corporate structure hopes to prevent new vets from becoming disillusioned, keeping them in the profession for decades and not just a few years.
CVS continually looks for veterinary practices that are up for sale. When the group has identified one, they act on it. The group’s share price has sky-rocketed in recent time. In the last five years, CVS’s share price has gone up 600 percent.