Westpoint Veterinary Group, the farm vets based in West Sussex with 17 practices across the UK and associated internet pharmacy (farmacy.co.uk), has been acquired by investment company August Equity in a private transaction completed on 11th January.

Original Westpoint vet Matt Dobbs has been appointed Managing Director and assures clients, colleagues and suppliers that the news means more than just ‘business as usual’.” Excellence and innovation in client service remain our focus,” he says, “We now have access to greater resources and expertise to invest in the development of our people, services and products. Any success we have had is based on our clients’ success; there is no other way and this is our sole focus.”
This ambition is backed, according to Mr Dobbs, by the appointment of new directors with heavyweight business backgrounds. The Group’s incoming Chairman is Steve Duncan, formerly Executive Chairman of the Health and Beauty division of Alliance Boots, including Chairman of Boots. As Finance Director, Paul Hawkes joins Westpoint with experience from a number of senior roles, most recently as FD at TUI Travel.
Matt Dobbs adds that the team is also pleased that Rob Drysdale, one of the founders of Westpoint, will remain with the business with responsibility for leading new projects to further increase value to its customers. “All of Westpoint’s previous shareholders and partners are excited about the opportunity and have re-invested in the business, taking senior management roles,” he says.

August Equity already has experience in the veterinary sector having invested in Independent Vetcare in 2011. According to investment director David Lonsdale, the aim is to expand Westpoint through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions to create the UK’s leading livestock health group.

“Since start up in 2000, the Westpoint team has built a strong business by offering an impressive range of research and science-based veterinary services to farmers and corporate clients,” he says. “Livestock production is changing rapidly, driven by strong underlying forces including, of course, increasing global demand for animal protein together with governmental focus on food security and the requirement for efficient livestock productivity with minimal avoidable waste. Westpoint is well equipped to help clients benefit from these factors.”

Westpoint Veterinary Group 2014, Board Directors

Chairman: Steve Duncan

Appointed executive chairman of Health & Beauty division of Alliance Boots in July 2007, including chairman of Boots, having previously been community pharmacy director managing Pharmacy operations in the UK and Europe. Prior to merger of Alliance UniChem and Boots Group, he was executive director of Alliance UniChem responsible for its retail division. Previously, managing director of Alliance Pharmacy, having joined the business in 1974. Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. Subsequent to retirement from Alliance Boots in 2010, remains an advisor to the group. Also chairman of FSP, a funeral services business, and non-executive director of NHS Direct.

Managing Director: Matt Dobbs BVM&S CertCHP GDLaw MRCVS

Qualified from the Royal ‘Dick’ School of Veterinary Studies in 1997. Initially spent time in farm practice in Somerset and Dorset. In 1999, moved to University of Sydney as visiting registrar. Helped develop dairy practice servicing 20,000 cows in the Nepean Basin, west of Sydney. On return to UK, lecturer in Dairy Practice and head of Large Animal Practice at the Royal Veterinary College, London. In 2001, awarded Trehane Trust Nuffield Farming Scholarship to look at modern role of livestock vets. Gained Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Certificate in Cattle Health and Production in 2003. Joined Westpoint Veterinary Group in January 2004 as board member and senior partner. In 2010, awarded Bullock Award for Innovation in Agriculture and the Queens Award for services to Agriculture.

Finance Director: Paul Hawkes

Experience in multiple sectors, assisting in shaping and delivery of strategic initiatives at various board level appointments. Worked with international corporate entities, including Zodiac Aerospace and TUI Travel PLC, running discreet businesses within the group, improving and demonstrating financial performance, improving operational efficiency and driving growth initiatives. More than 15 years working on corporate acquisitions, brings experience to assist with growing the business and ensuring that investment now available at Westpoint is put to effective use. First degree in Applied Biological Sciences from Exeter before gaining his professional chartered accountancy qualification.

For further information please contact Jason Davies at Westpoint Veterinary Group on 01306 628086.