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Despite Covid-19 Cheltenham business is still smiling after £34.5m growth in turnover

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 06 October 2020 9:08

Despite Covid-19 Cheltenham business is still smiling after £34.5m growth in turnover

If it was not for the coronavirus there is little doubt a company responsible for keeping our dentures looking lovely, and which runs 'Smile Clinics', would indeed be grinning from ear to ear at its performance. 

The Cheltenham-based business got its teeth firmly into growth, at least for the first five months of its last financial year pre-pandemic, acquiring dental practices to add to its portfolio andgrowing its turnover by 40 per cent. 

Twenty-one acquisitions later and the launch of 10 Smile Clinics, Portman Healthcare has seen turnover grow from £87.1m in 2018 to £121.6m in 2019 - an increase of £34.5 million (40 per cent).

Group gross profit for the year was £56.7m (£41m in 2018) - with an operating profit up from £0.6m in 2018 to £4.3m. It recorded a net loss of £5,391 compared to last year's £4,606. 

"The group's forecasts and projections, taking account of reasonable possible changes in trading performance, show that the group is cash-generative and will operate within the level of its current cash resources and lending facilities," said a statement from Sam Waley-Cohen, chief executive officer of the New Barn Lane-headquartered business.

Not surprisingly a substantial section of its statement is given over to the topic occupying most business minds currently – the pandemic. 

Its dental practices were closed as result through lockdown until mid-June. 

During this time the business was able to benefit from some of the Government and NHS support programmes which reduced he negative financial consequences,” said Mr Waley-Cohen. 

 "Whilst operating EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) fell significancy compared to both prior year and budget, a combination of government support and a careful cost control programme allowed the business to record only a small operating loss. 

Considerable measures have since been introduced into the business to protect colleagues the clinicians that provide a service to us and our patients.

"Management is satisfied with how business trading is resuming under the new procedures and the expectation is that we will return to the levels of profitability, seen prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, in early 2021. 

The scenarios modelled include a worst-case second three-month shutdown of all the business's practices within the next three months which shows that the business has sufficient liquidity, including to service its debts, over the next 18 months and will continue to comply with its banking covenants. 

During the year practices were acquired in Aviemore, Belfast, Burton upon Trent, Dorking, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glossop, London, Louth, Maidenhead, Manchester, Morpeth, Newark, Newcastle, Newmarket, Perth, Rawtenstall and Sheffield. 

It now has 114 practices under its wing.