Major Edinburgh dentistry firm snapped up by rapidly growing Scotland-wide group

A business believed to be the largest NHS general dental practice group in Edinburgh has been sold to a larger and rapidly growing Scotland-wide contemporary in what has been deemed a “landmark” deal for the Scottish market.

Mathewson Dental Practice, which was set up more than four decades ago, comprises St John’s Road Dental Practice in Corstorphine, and East Craigs Dental Practice a mile away, with both offering NHS and private treatments. The group says it boasts nine fully equipped surgeries and about 28,500 NHS registered patients.

It has been sold to Scottish Dental Care, which owns another 15 practices across Scotland, and said the Edinburgh business attracted several offers above the asking price.

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Mathewson Dental has been owned by Hew and Lorna Mathewson since 1977, at which point it comprised just one practice and circa 2,400 patients, and, along with their daughter, the team has worked to grow the group’s patient base.

They recently decided to sell to retire from ownership and appointed property advisor Christie & Co to search for a buyer that would continue to uphold the level of care that they had nurtured over the years for both staff and patients, as well as one that understood the Scottish dental system and could take the business to the next level.

Mr Mathewson, whose accolades include being awarded a CBE in 2010, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the outcome of the sale process.”

Scottish Dental Care managing director Christopher Friel also commented: “Acquiring these practices represents a continuation of our growth plans, with the extension of our Advanced Dentistry brand into Edinburgh. We are proud to take forward the legacy developed by Dr Mathewson over the years, and we look forward to working with the fantastic practice teams as we progress on that journey.”

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Mathewson Dental includes St John’s Road Dental Practice in Corstorphine. Picture: contributed.

Joel Mannix, associate director of dental at Christie & Co, who handled the sale, added: “It was a pleasure to sell this practice for Hew and his family who have worked so hard to create the outstanding business we know today.

Legacy

"All parties were incredibly organised, which really helped create a smooth deal and led us to present Hew and his team with a list of pre-approved prospective buyers to choose from. Following the closing date, they chose Scottish Dental Care to carry on the practice’s legacy, which has allowed the group to fill the missing link in its geography of practices.

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“This was a landmark deal for the Scottish market. It represents the huge demand we’re seeing for well-established practices in Scotland, and highlights that competition is key to achieving extremely good post-sale conditions.”

BGF, which says it is the UK and Ireland’s most active growth capital investor, earlier this year provided Scottish Dental Care with a multi-million-pound minority investment to implement the latter’s ambitious growth plans.

The investment giant in February when the transaction was announced noted that the dentistry group was turning over £11 million, has its head office at its Advanced Dentistry clinic in Hyndland, Glasgow, and had recently acquired Castle House clinic in Inverness, and the Grandholm and Granite City clinics in Aberdeen, complementing its presence in the Central Belt, Dumfries and Galloway, the Highlands and Grampian.

The dental group’s growth included the news in 2020 that it had added 20,000 patients with lockdown takeovers.