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Veterinary group CVS is in need of treatment

29/01/2019 · CVS Group (CVSG) 

AIM Profit Warning UK

Golden retriever at the vet - CVS (AIM:CVSG) investments
Shares in the UK’s leading veterinary group have slipped further following yet another disappointing trading update. Shareholders are rightly losing patience with this business which clearly needs to rethink its strategy, but is the share price reaction overdone?

Anyone who has had the misfortune of visiting a vet recently will probably be struggling to understand how a large business operating in such a seemingly buoyant market might be struggling. Despite declines over recent years, nearly 50% of UK households still own a pet and UK pet owners are increasingly willing to spend vast sums on keeping them fit and healthy.

It’s true, the dynamics of the UK veterinary market have changed in the past few years – industry wide, there is a shortage of vets and rapid consolidation has put extraordinary valuations on the practices that come up for sale. But CVS’ (CVSG) problems are of its own making and illustrate the pitfalls of an aggressive ‘buy and build’ strategy.

The cost of vets, bites

More practices means more staff and CVS has rapidly grown into the UK’s largest integrated provider of veterinary practices, employing over 1,500 veterinary surgeons. But the shortage of vets means the group remains heavily…

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