Monday 21 October 2019

Smiles Dental sold for €36m

Sarah McCabe

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

The company, which was founded in 2005 by UCD commerce graduate Emmet O'Neill, was bought by UK dental group Oasis Healthcare.

Sources close to the deal said the purchase price was around £30m (€36m).

Mr O’Neill founded the chain after a trip to teeth-whitening haven Florida with an orthodontist who was dating his mother.

Its first store opened on South Anne Street in Dublin 2; the company now has 77 practices across the Republic and the UK, providing a full range of dental services alongside teeth whitening. Mr O'Neill 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.

Smiles’ Irish outlets will keep their current name, while those in the UK will be rebranded 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 and Spencer who was knighted in 2008 for services to the retail industry.

"We were looking for a partner to help Smiles reach the next level and had examined a number of options" said Mr O’Neill on the sale. "When I met Sir Stuart and Justin Ash I realised that there was a shared approach and a matched ambition at Oasis. I am delighted to be joining their team and look forward to working hard not only to integrate our business, but to grow in future and to continue delivering a modern and innovative approach to dentistry. The team at Smiles both in the UK and Ireland have a huge amount to be proud of, and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for their loyalty, support and dedication."

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