The Ekera Dental journey
As part of a thematic approach to deal sourcing, The Growth Fund investigated several healthcare sectors. The dental industry was considered to have particularly interesting characteristics, with an aging and growing population supplemented by an increasing per capita spend on privately funded dental procedures and a trend towards corporatisation.
In a ‘match-making’ exercise, a boutique advisor introduced The Growth Fund to the Ekera Dental team – led by Dr Tony Coulepis and Dr Peter Hughes. The Growth Fund partnered with the Ekera Dental team to fund an industry roll-up.
Equity bridges the gap
The Growth Fund and the Ekera Dental management team agreed to fund the initial tranche of acquisitions entirely with equity, de-risking the business during the pressurised initial acquisition and integration phase as the head office and systems were developed.
Key to the Ekera Dental strategy is delivering an attractive value proposition to both independent and vending dentists, who typically remain practicing at the facilities on a commission basis. Removing the administrative burden from the business side of a practice enables Ekera’s dentists to focus on what they enjoy – clinical dentistry.
Scaling the acquisition pipeline
Starting with a single site, the Ekera Dental network has grown rapidly, with the management team targeting and executing the acquisition of strongly performing practices with multiple dental chairs, several dentists operating from the facility and no reliance on any single practitioner.
With a strong base business developed across Victoria and South Australia, Ekera’s focus continues to be on building the network through acquisitions, expanding existing locations by increasing the number of dental chairs and practitioners operating from the facilities, driving cross referrals and delivering the operational efficiencies which come with scale.