Business Irish

Friday 23 March 2018

Plenty to smile about as teeth whitening chain is sold for €36m

Smiles Dental founder, Emmet O’Neill. Photo: Mark Condren
Smiles Dental founder, Emmet O’Neill. Photo: Mark Condren
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

IRISH teeth whitening chain Smiles Dental has been bought for €36m.

The company, which was founded in 2005 by UCD commerce graduate Emmet O'Neill and orthodontist Hugh Bradley, has been bought by UK dental group Oasis Healthcare. Sources close to the deal said the purchase price was around £30m (€36m).

Mr O'Neill abandoned the early beginnings of a career in finance to start the company, when aged just 26, after a trip to teeth-whitening haven Florida with Mr Bradley, who was dating his mother at the time.

Its first store opened on South Anne Street in Dublin 2; the company now has 17 practices across the Republic and owns or operates a further 60 in the UK, providing a full range of dental services alongside teeth whitening. One of the company's selling points is that it is open seven days a week and operates early and late hours.

Mr O'Neill and Smiles' existing management team will remain with the company following the sale.

The deal gives Oasis, the UK's largest private dentist group and a major provider for the NHS, access to the Irish market. It should also bump up the group's annual revenue by £50m, to £210m (€255m). Smiles' Irish outlets will keep their current name, while those in the UK will be re- branded as Oasis Dental Care.

"We are very excited about this deal and the prospects for the larger group. We are well funded to continue our growth, and are actively seeking further complementary acquisitions, as well as new openings to at least double the size of Oasis," said Oasis Healthcare chief executive Justin Ash. The company's chairman is Sir Stuart Rose, the former chairman of Marks & Spencer.

"We were looking for a partner to help Smiles reach the next level and had examined a number of options," said Mr O'Neill about the sale. "When I met Sir Stuart and Justin Ash I realised there was a shared approach and a matched ambition at Oasis."

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business