Ireland’s biggest dental group Smiles sold to Oasis Healthcare

Price paid for chain, founded by Emmet O’Neil and orthodontist Hugh Bradley, thought to be €36m

Smiles provides dental care from 77 practices in Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.

Smiles provides dental care from 77 practices in Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.


Smiles Dental, Ireland’s biggest privately-owned dental care provider, has been sold to Oasis Healthcare for an undisclosed sum.

The price is thought to be region of £30 million (€36 million) for the company which was founded in Dublin in 2005 by Emmet O’Neil and orthodontist Hugh Bradley.

Smiles provides dental care from 77 practices in Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. The Irish group, which has 17 clinics in Ireland, has a turnover of £70 million (€84 million).

Oasis Healthcare is Britain’s largest provider of dental care and post the acquisition of Smiles it will have a turnover of £210 million and three million private and public sector patients. There will be 280 dental practices in its group post the transaction.

Oasis is owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint, which owns among other businesses Pret A Manager, the ready -to-eat salad and sandwich maker which has 300 outlets in the UK, US, France and Hong Kong.

The UK dental care firm is led by Justin Ash and chaired by Stuart Rose, the former Marks & Spencer executive chairman.

Emmet O’Neil Smiles Dental chief executive said: “We were looking for a partner to help Smiles reach the next level and had examined a number of options. When I met Sir Stuart and Justin Ash I realised that there was a shared approach and a matched ambition at Oasis.”

“I am delighted to be joining their team and look forward to working hard not only to integrate our business, but to grow in future and to continue delivering a modern and innovative approach to dentistry,” he added.

“The team at Smiles both in the UK and Ireland have a huge amount to be proud of, and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for their loyalty, support and dedication.”

Mr O’Neil said combining the two businesses would offer additional clinical services to patients and lead to other synergies. Oasis will brand Smile’s UK practices as Oasis Dental Care but retain the Smiles brand in Ireland.

Justin Ash, chief executive of Oasis, said: “This is a transformational deal for Oasis and demonstrates our ability to drive growth and consolidation, building the only national brand in the fragmented dental market.”

“We believe this is outstanding news for the three million patients of the combined group and all patients seeking high quality, easy accessible dental care. We are also pleased to be extending our partnership with the NHS across the domiciles in the UK and to be providing care under the HSE in the Republic of Ireland.”

Mr Ash said Oasis was “well funded to continue our growth, and actively seeking further complementary acquisitions, as well as new openings to at least double the size of Oasis.”