Home Business Red-hot market for buying dental, veterinary and other health practices begins to cool

Red-hot market for buying dental, veterinary and other health practices begins to cool

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Purchase prices for clinics have skyrocketed over the past few years as large consolidators have acquired veterinary, dentist and other clinics in recent years.Michelle Euler/Associated Press

The frenetic market for buying professional wellness remedies is starting to cool.

Large consolidators, many of which are backed by international private equity funds, have recently joined forces with veterinarians, dentists, I bought another clinic.

of corporate hoarding We have seen clinic purchase prices skyrocket in the last few years. As a result, although independent sellers benefited greatly, it also made it difficult for young professionals to buy their own clinics.

But industry insiders say the seller’s market has cooled dramatically this fall, partly due to rising interest rates.

Most Canadian consolidators are private companies, but some are public companies. The largest company is DentalCorp Holdings, where he has seen double-digit annual revenue growth through an aggressive acquisition program.Dental Corp DNTL-Thas 538 locations and purchased 42 clinics in the first quarter of this year, 28 in the second quarter and 14 clinics in the third quarter.

In its third-quarter report released on Nov. 9, the company said it would stay off gas for the rest of the year and then focus on deleveraging. In the latest report, he had $1 billion of senior debt, half of which he had a fixed rate of 6.6% and the other half at a floating rate. The company’s net debt (total debt less cash) to EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) ratio was 7.2 to 1, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Dentalcorp uses a metric called “PF Adjusted EBITDA” and calculates a ratio of 4.3 to 1 to achieve higher earnings.

When asked by analysts about the impact of rising interest rates, Dentalcorp executives say it’s a bigger issue for independent professionals competing to buy clinics.

Dentalcorp chief financial officer Nate Chappria said at a TD Securities conference on Tuesday, “Interest rates are going up, mortgages are going up, student loans are going up and the availability of capital is definitely going down. I do,” he said. .

Those working in the field say rising interest rates and higher spending due to inflation are constraining buyer budgets, leading to lower prices and less buying activity.

Timothy Brown, chief executive of ROI Corp., a brokerage of dental, veterinary and optometry services, said the listing has been in the market longer than it was earlier this year.

He said that the exceptional dental practice may have attracted 10 to 15 offers in the spring, but is now getting 3 to 5 offers instead. “This is a sign that the market is slowing down, but it’s not in decline yet,” he said.

Vet consolidators have dramatically slowed purchases in the past two months, with some stopping altogether, according to Douglas Jack, a lawyer at Borden Ladner Gervais who specializes in working with veterinarians. That’s what I mean.

He said practices that were attracting offers at 15 to 20 times EBITDA a year ago are now winning offers at 7 to 10 times EBITDA, and many of these offers are one-off deals. It is said that it is paid through shares of the parent company.

With offers coming in at lower prices, many pundits looking to sell practices may hold off longer to see if the market recovers, resulting in a short-term slowdown. may go further.

Calgary CEO Alan Urcifer said: Based optometry network FYidoctors.

Sina Amiri, a dental industry consultant and Zentist’s vice president of revenue, said the breakneck pace of acquisitions by big companies over the past few years has been land grabbing, and many of the low-hanging fruit are It claims to be the clinic with the most doctors. Want to sell – selected.

“Now you’re on to something harder,” Amiri said. “Hard-to-get deals only progress more slowly, and those guys and gals have more options. Maybe they don’t necessarily have to sell today.”

He said he expects more consolidators to make cross-acquisitions in the coming months and years. This move may already be underway. His rivals 123Dentist and Altima Dental merged in July with the backing of a private equity firm and US giant Heartland Dental. Dentalcorp announced Monday We were initiating a strategic review process in response to an unsolicited offer.

For an independent health-care professional who is a private practice and is considering a sale, industry sources say it may take a while, if at all, for purchase prices to return to the highs seen earlier this year. I’m here.

“There are a lot of people who have missed the boat and are self-harming,” Jack said.

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