HomeBussinessBelfast-based Kingsbridge Private Healthcare Group sold

Belfast-based Kingsbridge Private Healthcare Group sold


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Kingsbridge Healthcare Group, based in south Belfast, said it had secured major investment from private equity firm Exponent.

It said the deal would support its expansion in both Northern Ireland and the Republic and was a “major vote of confidence in Northern Ireland’s economy”.

According to a report on business news website The Currency in May, Exponent had been in exclusive talks to acquire Kingsbridge for around £300m.

It’s Dublin-based Exponent’s first investment into Northern Ireland and one of the biggest private equity deals here in recent years.

Kingsbridge was founded by doctors Suresh Tharma and Ashok Songra in Belfast in 2005. It now has four hospitals and 11 clinics in Belfast, Londonderry and Sligo. It employs more than 1,100 staff and engages over 400 consultants advanced medical services in surgery and diagnostics.

Dr Tharma and Mr Songra will remain significant minority investors in Kingsbridge, which will also retain its existing senior leadership team, led by chief executive Mark Regan. Dr Tharma will become chairman of the board.

Exponent managing director Richard Lenane, who is from Belfast, and David McGovern, partner in its Dublin office, will join the board.

Kingsbridge carries out more than 25,000 surgical treatments each year, including patients under the Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme and National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), contributing to reduced waiting list times for patients in the Republic. In the year to March 2023, pre-tax profits rose to £11.4m, from £9.1m the year before.

Exponent has now invested over €1bn in Irish-owned and based businesses, making it one of the most significant private equity investors in Ireland.

In February, it announced an investment in Galway-based Chanelle Pharma, a company founded by Michael Burke, the father-in-law of Northern Ireland jockey AP McCoy.

Mr Regan said: “We welcome this significant investment and vote of confidence in our business. The team at Exponent is committed to supporting our local healthcare sector and has an impressive track record of backing great businesses across the island.

“Our aim from the very outset two decades ago was to improve access to healthcare, be that through supporting the public sector via the NHS, HSE and NTPF or those who wish to access our surgery and diagnostic services using self-pay models or private medical insurance.

“In Northern Ireland we have the longest healthcare waiting lists in Europe. By working in partnership with both the NHS and the HSE as well as the burgeoning private healthcare market here, I strongly believe that together we can make a real and lasting difference to the outcomes for many more patients.

“Our singular aim going forward is to continue to build on the legacy we’ve already established and to serve the healthcare needs of the population of Ireland, north and south.”

Mr McGovern praised the company’s “culture and patient focus” “Through its high-tech facilities and thoughtful operating model, Kingsbridge is strategically well positioned to address demand for healthcare services in Northern Ireland and across the island of Ireland.

“We look forward to working closely with Mark and his impressive team to build on its success in the coming years by investing in its capabilities, expanding its presence across Ireland, and exploring new growth initiatives. Together, we will strengthen the dompany’s crucial role in supporting the island’s healthcare network.”

Mr Lenane added: “We see huge potential for growth in the healthcare sector in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as demand for accessible and more technologically advanced healthcare services increases.”

News Catch Up: Tuesday 9 July 2024

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