Hot on the heels of revealing plans to buy two more veterinary businesses in western Victoria, Apiam Animal Health is also working on a joint venture with a pet care supplies retailer to open veterinary clinics around Australia.
Its first new co-located clinic will open as a 24-hour veterinary emergency and referral centre embedded at Petstock’s new retail superstore at Epsom, just outside Bendigo.
Petstock is a family-owned retailer of animal products, services and accessories, primarily for the companion animal and equine markets.
It has about 135 stores in Australia and 12 in New Zealand.
The company has grown rapidly since it launched 15 years ago, partly aided by its decision to integrate veterinary clinics into some stores.
It now has about 20 Petstock Vet clinics, mostly in capital city or city fringe locations.
Apiam plans to expand the model into regional areas in Petstock stores on the edge of territories where it currently runs its own veterinary businesses.
We believe this alliance represents exciting synergistic opportunities for both parties.
Its next co-located clinics are expected to open by about Easter next year.
Apiam managing director, Dr Chris Richards, said the alliance would open up a new market demographic for Apiam giving the veterinary company the chance to leverage its broad service offering across Petstock’s large customer base.
Joint venture synergies
“It is also consistent with our strategy of increasing our presence in the high growth and underserviced regional and rural companion animal market,” he said.
“We believe this alliance represents exciting synergistic opportunities for both parties.”
Last month Apiam announced plans to expand to 34 veterinary clinics around Australia, with the purchase of a veterinary business operating in Terang and Mortlake in Victoria.
Petstock’s regional Australian origins were similar to Apiam and his team looked forward to a strong working relationship with the new partner.
Petstock chief executive officer, Shane Young, agreed the venture would give his company the chance to use Apiam’s technical expertise and systems to support retail businesses in regional and rural locations, and “expand our offering to our loyal customer base”.
A first for Bendigo
Dr Richards said Apiam’s decision to start the joint venture in Bendigo, on the edge of its own territory stronghold in northern Victoria and southern NSW, followed it identifying a need for an emergency and referral centre in the large regional centre area.
Apiam is also headquartered in Bendigo.
“Many current cases for specialist surgery and medicine currently require transferring to Melbourne.
The centre would be equipped with ‘best in class’ diagnostic equipment, including the region’s first CT (computed tomography) scanning machine and it would be staffed by specialist veterinarians and consultants experienced in surgery and medicine, as well as general and emergency veterinary practitioners.
PETstock will continue to independently operate the Epsom retail store and other co-located retail stores.
As part of the alliance, Apiam and Petstock will jointly investigate the potential for synergies in back end support services, procurement and information technology options.
Petstock could also assist Apiam with its own retail operations in its stand-alone clinics.