VetPartners has continued the expansion of its farm division with the acquisition of one of the UK’s leading production animal veterinary groups.

The addition of Origin group, which owns some of the best-known businesses operating across farm, pig and poultry, as well as a laboratory and consulting business, will create by far the biggest, most diverse production animal team in the UK.

The Origin group has some of the UK’s leading production animal health businesses, including Biobest Laboratories, Garth Pig Vets, Poultry Health Services, Westpoint Farm Vets and Kingshay Farming and Conservation. Origin’s pig department currently represents the largest pig practice in the UK.

The clinics will be joining VetPartners’ existing production animal network, including Willows Veterinary Group, Hampden Vets, Abbey Veterinary Group, Hale Veterinary Group and Penbode Vets.

The latest acquisition expands the depth and breadth of the group’s portfolio of companion animal, farm and equine practices.

The Origin name will eventually be phased out as individual businesses within the group all have strong identities in their own right, while the small animal part of Oakwood Veterinary Group will become part of VetPartners’ companion animal division.

Origin’s current chief executive, Mike Tims, will join the VetPartners management team as operations director - production animal, and the expansion of the group will lead to the establishment of a new Production Animal Board, with members drawn from existing practices and future acquisitions.

The deal was made possible by the backing of Ares, one of the largest global alternative asset managers, and August Equity, one of the UK’s leading private equity firms specialising in veterinary services.

VetPartners now includes more than 70 small animal, equine and farm practices. The firm employs 3,500 people across nearly 300 sites in the UK.

'Further growth'

VetPartners chief executive Jo Malone said: “This latest exciting development underlines our commitment to our growing farm division and will bring benefits of scale, local support for our teams and access to a wide range of excellent specialist services, as well as the focus and drive to move this part of our business forward.

We now have some of the very best veterinary businesses from each species within our group. The next 12 months will see further growth in each of our species groups, as well as mixed practices.

“It was important to us early on to have adequate, credible resource across each of the sectors in the veterinary profession in order we can support and cover all aspects of veterinary care.”

Origin chief executive Mike Tims said: “We are proud to be joining VetPartners, which gives us the opportunity to work alongside other leading farm animal practices like Willows, Hampden, Hale, Penbode and Abbey.

“We are joining the fastest growing, fully diversified veterinary service group in Europe.

“There will be huge benefits to our employees, with fresh career opportunities and new ways of working, while it also ensures we have the ambition, funds and expertise to build a great place to work that provides innovative and industry-leading solutions for our clients.”

Penbode Vets, a five-site mixed practice based in Cornwall, joined VetPartners earlier this month.