Mars Expands Pet-Care Business With Purchase of Veterinary Firm AniCura

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Mars Inc. is pushing additional into the profitable enterprise of pet care, saying on Monday it had agreed to purchase a European veterinary operator.

The deal to purchase AniCura from European buyout agency Nordic Capital values the enterprise at near €2 billion ($2.36 billion) together with debt, in accordance with an individual accustomed to the matter.

It marks the newest in a sequence of offers in pet care by privately held Mars, which has lengthy owned a considerable pet-food enterprise courting again to 1935, with manufacturers resembling Iams, Pedigree and Royal Canin.

Final 12 months Mars purchased veterinary and canine day-care firm VCA Inc. for $7.7 billion. And simply final week, Mars agreed to purchase U.Okay. veterinary-services supplier Linnaeus Group Ltd. from private-equity agency Sovereign Capital Companions.

Whereas greatest identified for its sweet bar and different chocolate and gum manufacturers, pet care contributes most of Mars’s roughly $35 billion in annual income. The corporate’s push to develop its footprint within the high-margin enterprise of feeding and caring for pets comes as gross sales of conventional packaged meals, together with its snacks merchandise, are exhibiting solely modest progress.

Mars, which remains to be owned by its founder’s descendants, says pet care is a faster-growing business than human meals.

Pet homeowners in developed markets are cultivating stronger emotional bonds with their canines and cats, motivated by later marriages, smaller households and elevated divorce charges, in accordance with analysts. As extra folks purchase fancier, natural meals for themselves, they’re doing the identical for his or her pets. Shoppers are also looking for extra various medical care for his or her pets resembling most cancers remedies for his or her cats and reconstructive surgical procedures on their canines’ knees.

To capitalize on this, Mars in March launched a $100 million enterprise capital fund geared toward backing startups targeted on all issues pet-related, from diet to genetics. In April it acquired Opitgen LLC, a genetic diagnostics firm specializing in inherited eye problems in canines.

AniCura gives preventive and fundamental well being care but additionally superior diagnostics, inside drugs, intensive care, surgical procedure and orthopedics. The corporate additionally gives rehabilitation, physiotherapy and dietary recommendation and sells some pet meals.

It has 200 clinics with four,000 staff in locations like Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Switzerland. Its annual income is about three.three billion kronor ($378.9 million).

As a European-based buyout agency, Nordic Capital focuses its investments throughout a spread of sectors together with well being care, monetary companies and client and retail. It closed its newest fund final month, elevating €four.three billion ($5.06 billion).

The AniCura deal represents an enormous win for Nordic, which acquired the operation in 2014 for round €220 million, together with debt, in accordance with the particular person accustomed to the matter. Below Nordic’s possession, AniCura elevated the variety of clinics it operates fourfold. Right this moment, the enterprise cares for 2 million animals yearly, up from 500,000 in 2014.

Write to Saabira Chaudhuri at and Ben Dummett at

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