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BGF invests in eight north and north-east dental clinics

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Scottish Dental Care (SDC) Group, whose 15 clinics include five in or near Inverness, two in Aberdeen and one in Oban, has secured a multimillion-pound cash injection from growth capital investor BGF.

Alongside the investment, healthcare sector expert James Buckley will join SDC Group’s board as non-executive chairman.

Mr Buckley was introduced to the firm through BGF’s “talent network”, one of the largest groups of board-level non-executives in the UK and Ireland.

He has previously sat on two boards backed by the investor.

BGF described him as having a “successful and proven” track record as chairman and chief executive at a string of healthcare buy-and-build-focused companies.

Favourable market conditions and a clear growth strategy puts Scottish Dental Care on an incredibly positive trajectory.”

Euan Baxter, investor, BGF.

Glasgow-based SDC Group was founded in 2016 by brothers Philip and Christopher Friel.

It offers a full range of NHS, private and cosmetic dental treatments.

The group’s clinics include the recently acquired Castle House dental practice in Inverness, and the Grandholm and Granite City clinics in Aberdeen.

In the Highland capital, the company also owns the Hazel House, Stoneyfield and Inverness Dental clinics.

Group businesses elsewhere in the Highlands include Culloden Dental Clinic and a practice based at Lorn and Islands Hospital, in Oban.

The 15 clinics in the overall portfolio, which also includes practices in the central belt and southern Scotland, are together turning over about £11 million a year.

BGF, which now has a minority stake, sees plenty of potential for further growth.

It said its investment would allow the growing dental group to forge ahead with ambitious expansion plans in the coming years through acquisitions across Scotland.

BGF investor Euan Baxter said: “Philip and Christopher have grown an excellent business through their commitment to providing high-quality care and the provision of desirable dental treatments.

“There is no doubt their success is rooted in their commitment to excellence and the welcoming culture they have fostered.”

Mr Baxter added: “Favourable market conditions and a clear growth strategy puts Scottish Dental Care on an incredibly positive trajectory.

“BGF is pleased to be able to support them as they expand and seek to acquire other clinics in key growth areas across the country.”

Christopher Friel, managing director, SDC Group, said: “We will now embark on new ventures to acquire clinics and teams of talented staff in communities right across Scotland.

“We are excited about the next steps for the group and what we can achieve alongside BGF.”

l-r Christopher and Philip Friel, the two brothers behind Scottish Dental Care Group.

Backed by some of the UK’s biggest high street banks, BGF is a long-term investor, putting between £1 million and £15m into firms in return for a minority equity stake.

It was launched in 2011 as the Business Growth Fund, and has gone on to invest in excess of £3 billion in more than 450 companies.

The investments are made and managed through 16 offices in the UK and Ireland.

Nearly £60m was ploughed into Scottish businesses across a diverse range of sectors by BGF during 2021  – a record year for the investor north of the border.

Part of its investment in SDC Group comes from the new UK Enterprise Fund, which was established by BGF alongside Coutts, the private banking business of NatWest.

Highland practices join Scotland’s biggest dental group in new partnership

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