Australia’s largest regional vet network is expanding its companion animal presence in rural Victoria, with another key acquisition. 

Animal health company Apiam (ASX:AHX) has entered into an agreement to acquire Horsham Veterinary Hospital for $2m, as it moves to increase its presence in the important regional Victorian hub which services the large Wimmera Southern Mallee population.

The clinic’s six veterinarians will form part of Apiam’s western Victorian network. Benefits are forecasted to flow as the business is integrated into the group’s eight clinic network in the region.

The acquisition will add $2.5m in revenue and $400K in EBITDA to Apiam on a FY21 proforma basis.


Horsham Veterinary Hospital a key addition for Apiam

Apiam managing director Dr Chris Richards said the Horsham clinic was a key strategic addition to the company’s growing portfolio. The acquisition will increase it’s operations to 47 clinics and more than 64 business locations.

“The acquisition of Horsham Veterinary Hospital will expand our reach into important regional communities, where companion animal ownership continues to accelerate rapidly,” Richards said.

“The acquisition also fits well with our existing western Victoria clinic network and there are many immediate operating benefits identified.”

“We look forward to working with Horsham Veterinary Hospital’s experienced veterinary team.”


Apiam completes several acquisitions in solid start to FY22

The Horsham acquisition is one of the latest for Apiam, which has had a solid start to the 2022 financial year with revenue and profit also increasing.

Apiam completed the acquisitions of Scenic Rim Vet Service and Harbour City Vet Surgery, both in Queensland and Golden Plains Group in Victoria’s Greater Geelong district.

The acquisitions form a key part of Apiam’s value-add strategy, to expand its presence into markets and regions it has identified as rapidly growing and under-serviced.

Apiam’s preliminary revenue for Q1 FY22 of $34.6m was 16.7% higher than the previous corresponding period (pcp), increasing from $29.6m.

Preliminary gross profit continued to grow, up 26.4% on pcp to $21 million in Q1 FY22.


Apiam’s competitive advantage

The veterinary needs of local communities have been credited as a key factor in the success of Apiam, which operate differently to their city counterparts.

Speaking with Stockhead recently, Richards said other veterinary corporates had tried to expand into rural and regional areas but had failed.

He said Apiam’s focus and speciality was servicing the companion and large animal needs of rural communities.

He said there may be up to 20 vets in large regional clinics — which may have two to three branches in smaller townships within a 50km radius.

“City clinics tend to be two or three-person clinics, although some can be larger. They tend to do basic companion animal needs, with major surgery referred on to a specialist or after hours to an animal emergency centre,” Richards said.

“In regional practices vets are doing their own after hours, emergency care, and advanced procedures but also treating a greater range of species from companion animals to farm animals, horses and wildlife.”

That means that with its local knowledge and national network, Apiam has established clear market leadership for rural vet services in rapidly-expanding regional growth corridors.

With an understanding of the toll the industry can take Apiam is working to ensure the mental wellbeing of its vets and has also initiated its proprietary software-based triage service to reduce the exhaustion of rural vets, who have traditionally been on call 24/7.

This article was developed in collaboration with Apiam, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.