We are a leading national animal healthcare company operating in the United States and Canada. We provide veterinary services and diagnostic testing to support veterinary care and we sell diagnostic imaging equipment and other medical technology products and related services to the veterinary market.
Our animal hospitals offer a full range of general medical and surgical services for companion animals, as well as specialized treatments including advanced diagnostic services, internal medicine, oncology, ophthalmology, dermatology and cardiology. In addition, we provide pharmaceutical products and perform a variety of pet wellness programs including health examinations, diagnostic testing, routine vaccinations, spaying, neutering and dental care. Our network of animal hospitals is supported by more than 1,600 veterinarians and had approximately 6.6 million patient visits in 2009. Our network of veterinary diagnostic laboratories provides sophisticated testing and consulting services used by veterinarians in the detection, diagnosis, evaluation, monitoring, treatment and prevention of diseases and other conditions affecting animals. Our network of veterinary diagnostic laboratories provides diagnostic testing for over 16,000 clients, which includes standard animal hospitals, large animal practices, universities and other government organizations. Our Medical Technology business sells digital radiography and ultrasound imaging equipment, provides education and training on the use of that equipment, and provides consulting and mobile imaging services.
Our principal executive offices are located at 12401 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. We can be contacted at (310) 571-6500.
Our company was formed in 1986 as a Delaware corporation and during the 1990s established a position in the animal hospital and veterinary diagnostic laboratory markets through both internal growth and acquisitions. By December 31, 1999, our company operated a total of 194 animal hospitals and had built a laboratory network of 13 laboratories servicing animal hospitals in all 50 states. Subsequent to 1999, our company continued its growth by adding additional laboratories and through the acquisition of individually owned animal hospitals and the following animal hospital chains:
•On June 1, 2004, we acquired National PetCare Centers, Inc. (“NPC”), which operated 67 animal hospitals as of the acquisition date. This acquisition allowed us to expand our animal hospital operations, particularly in California and Texas.
•On July 1, 2005, we acquired Pet’s Choice, Inc. (“Pet’s Choice”), which operated 46 animal hospitals as of the acquisition date. This acquisition allowed us to expand our animal hospital operations, particularly in Texas and Washington.
•On June 1, 2007, we acquired Healthy Pet Corp. (“Healthy Pet”), which operated 44 animal hospitals and a small laboratory, which primarily serviced its own animal hospitals, as of the acquisition date. This acquisition allowed us to expand our animal hospital operations, particularly in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia and Georgia.
Subsequent to 1999, we also acquired and opened additional laboratories that service locations with a high level of demand (i.e., large metropolitan areas). In addition, on October 1, 2004, we acquired Sound Technologies, Inc. (“STI”), which is a supplier of digital radiography and ultrasound imaging equipment and related computer hardware, software and services to the veterinary industry. The acquisition of STI provided us the opportunity to sell digital imaging equipment, which we believe is an expanding segment within the animal healthcare industry. On July 1, 2009, we acquired Eklin Medical Systems, Inc. (“Eklin”), a leading seller of digital radiography, ultrasound and practice management software systems in the veterinary market. The combined company is the largest supplier of diagnostic imaging equipment and other medical technology products to the veterinary market.
Our business strategy is to continue expanding our market leadership in animal healthcare through our Animal Hospital, Laboratory and Medical Technology segments. Key elements to our strategy include:
•Capitalizing on our Leading Market Position to Generate Revenue Growth. Our leading market position in the animal hospital and veterinary laboratory markets positions us to capitalize on favorable growth trends in the animal healthcare industry. In our animal hospitals, we seek to generate revenue growth by capitalizing on the growing emphasis on pet health and wellness. In our laboratories, we seek to generate revenue growth by taking advantage of the growing number of outsourced diagnostic tests, the opportunities to expand the testing that we provide and by increasing our market share. We continually educate veterinarians on new and existing technologies and tests available to diagnose medical conditions. Further, we leverage the knowledge of our specialists by providing veterinarians with extensive client support in utilizing and understanding these diagnostic tests. Our Medical Technology segment seeks to leverage our strengths in the broader veterinary markets by introducing technologies, products and services to the veterinary market. We seek to generate revenue growth by increasing our market share and educating veterinarians on new and existing technologies.
•Leveraging Established Infrastructure to Improve Margins. We intend to leverage our established Animal Hospital and Laboratory infrastructure to continue to increase our operating margins. Due to our established networks and the fixed cost nature of our business model, we are able to realize high margins on incremental revenue from Animal Hospital and Laboratory customers. For example, given that our nationwide transportation network servicing our Laboratory customers is a relatively fixed cost, we are able to achieve significantly higher margins on most incremental tests ordered by the same customer when picked up by our couriers at the same time.
•Utilizing Enterprise-Wide Information Systems to Improve Operating Efficiencies. Our Laboratory and the majority of our Animal Hospital operations utilize enterprise-wide management information systems. We believe that these common systems enable us to more effectively manage the key operating metrics that drive our business. With the aid of these systems, we seek to standardize pricing, expand the services our veterinarians provide, capture unbilled services and increase volume through targeted marketing programs.
•Pursuing Selected Acquisitions. The fragmentation of the animal hospital industry provides us with significant expansion opportunities in our Animal Hospital segment. Depending upon the attractiveness of the candidates and the strategic fit with our existing operations, we intend to acquire independent animal hospitals each year with aggregate annual revenues of approximately $50.0 million to $60.0 million. Our overall acquisition strategy involves the identification of high-quality practices where we can create additional value through the services and scale we can provide. Our typical candidate mirrors the profile of our existing animal hospital base. These acquisitions will be used to both expand existing markets and to enter into new geographic areas. In addition, we also evaluate the acquisition of animal hospital chains, laboratories or related businesses if favorable opportunities are presented. We intend primarily to use cash in our acquisitions but, depending on the timing and amount of our acquisitions, we may use stock or debt.
We report our results of operations through three segments: Animal Hospital, Laboratory and Medical Technology.
At December 31, 2009 we employed or managed on behalf of the professional corporations to which we provide services approximately 8,500 full-time-equivalent employees. At that date, none of these employees were a party to a collective bargaining agreement.