The Ralph Veterinary Referral Centre EIS
This is an opportunity exclusively for existing shareholders to participate in the second fundraising round for The Ralph Veterinary Referral Centre (“The Ralph”) EIS.
In early spring 2018, 160 Wealth Club investors invested approximately £3.3 million of EIS capital. This investment enabled The Ralph to start the conversion from scratch and fit out a state-of-the-art, top-tier, multidisciplinary small animal specialist veterinary referral hospital. The hospital is opening in January / February 2019.
- £1.25 million additional EIS fundraise to complete conversion of top-tier specialist veterinary referral hospital and provide working capital
- Existing shareholders can invest in second EIS round at same share price (£0.10 per share) as previously
- Management is investing an extra £300k
- Any spare capacity offered to new investors at a premium share price
- Target returns of 2.5x (pre-tax relief) 3.5x (post-tax relief) – not guaranteed
- Target exit in 2022 – not guaranteed
- Minimum investment £10,000
- Close date for existing investors 14 January 2019
- Advance Assurance received
Developments since last fundraise
- Enhanced specification and increased square footage of conversion to future-proof the business
- Full team of specialist clinicians and senior management recruited
- Increased network of referrers in place – vets and insurance
- Increased M&A in the sector amid an increase in pet-related expenditure
The hospital plans to open in January / February 2019. At launch it should be fully equipped to offer Emergency and Critical Care (ECC) services 24/7, 365 days alongside key clinical specialist services such as orthopaedics, soft tissue surgery, internal medicine, neurology and neurosurgery and will be one of the largest ECC hospitals in the UK.
The founders are pleased with the developments to date and are confident they can achieve the long-term vision and plan for the business, although there are no guarantees.
However, the enhanced conversion work has cost more than planned and caused a three to four-month delay in opening the hospital, pushing back revenue generation.
Consequently, The Ralph is now aiming to raise £1.25 million EIS to cover the increased cost of the conversion and hospital fit out as well as provide working capital.
This is an opportunity for existing investors to invest alongside the team at The Ralph at the same share price as before. The founders are themselves investing £250k in this round (bringing their total investment, including investment by their immediate family, to £442k) and the management team is investing a further £50k.
Should existing investors not fill this funding round, new investors will be given the opportunity to invest post launch at a premium to the existing share price reflecting the increased quality of the hospital conversion, increased network of referrers including RSA and full complement of clinicians and senior management.
This is an EIS-qualifying investment with Advance Assurance in place. The Company is trading and EIS certificates are expected to be issued in a timely manner.
Forecasts and target return
It targets returns of 2.5x pre tax relief and 3.5x post tax relief based on an exit after year 4 (2022). As profits are forecast to increase further in year 5 an exit at that point could considerably increase returns, should the forecast EBITDA be achieved. Neither the returns nor the exit and its timing are guaranteed. To read more details and see all the financials, please download the Information Memorandum and our research report.
Shailen Jasani (Founder and CEO) is a well known emergency specialist vet. After graduating from Cambridge in 1999 he worked as a vet in Emergency and Critical Care. For six of the last 15 years, he was at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, Royal Veterinary College, in various capacities, including Senior Faculty clinician. He also worked as a clinical trainer, supervisor and mentor for Vets Now Limited, overseeing multiple primary care emergency clinics.
He has been planning The Ralph since 2014. He experienced first-hand the growth of the veterinary referral market but also saw its shortcomings. In his opinion, there were not enough animal hospitals that were operated commercially and combined clinical excellence with great service and a focus on workplace culture.
Shailen has teamed up with Iqbal Dhanji, a Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) trained accountant, former banker and angel investors. Iqbal has spent much of the last ten years building up and selling a number of dental practices – in many ways a similar type of operation – with his wife who is a dentist.
The Ralph has recruited a top team of clinicians in emergency and critical care, internal medicine, neurology and neurosurgery, ophthalmology, cardiology, anaesthesia, orthopaedics, soft tissue surgery and dentistry.
If successful, The Ralph is most likely to provide an exit to EIS shareholders by refinancing, although nothing is guaranteed. Acquisitions of referral centres by large corporates and private equity firms show there is clear confidence in the continued growth of the veterinary sector. A trade sale is therefore an alternative exit strategy. There may be opportunities to open additional referral centres in the UK and/or acquire first option vet practices. This is not included in the forecasts or target returns.
Target year of exit is year 4 but the timescales and exit options are by no means certain.
Risks – important
This, like all investments available through Wealth Club, is only for experienced investors happy to make their own investment decisions without advice.
EIS / SEIS investments are high-risk so should only form part of a balanced portfolio and you should not invest money you cannot afford to lose. They also tend to be illiquid and hard to sell and value. Before you invest, please carefully read the Risks and Commitments and the offer documents to ensure you fully understand the risks.
This is a single company EIS offer with no diversification. It involves investing in an early-stage business which is by nature high risk and prone to failure.
The value of tax benefits depends on circumstances and tax rules can change.
Fees and charges
Investors are investing in the company directly so will pay no direct initial or ongoing charges. The Ralph will pay an introducer fee to Wealth Club of 5%.
The hospital now has everything in place to start treating patients.
The forecasts are based on dog and cat ownership not declining and pet insurance remaining stable. Based on the increasing pet related expenditure and M&A in the sector we think these are reasonable assumptions. The trend of pet owners seeking the most advanced healthcare for their pets appears to be continuing. With only a few top-tier centres in the UK, it would appear demand outstrips supply providing an opportunity for a skilled and experienced management team to grow a successful business.
Profit margins and cash generation are strong in the sector as seen with peer group companies leading to double-digit valuations on exit in some cases. However, whilst the Company has achieved a great deal this year, it now needs to open its doors and prove it can deliver its business plan.
For experienced investors who are comfortable with the considerable risks, The Ralph has the potential to generate attractive returns if it is successful.
- Single company
- Target return
- 2.5x investment
- Funds raised / sought
£1 million /
- Minimum investment