VHI to take full ownership of SwiftCare clinics

State-owned insurer buys out Centric Health to take 100% control of walk-in injury centres

State-owned health insurer VHI is set to take over full ownership of the SwiftCare clinics that it has jointly owned since 2005 with Centric Health.

The deal has been notified to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. The value of the transaction has not been disclosed.

Declan Moran, director of marketing and business development at VHI, said the walk-in clinics, which treat a range of minor injuries and illnesses, have "significant further potential and are a key element of VHI's overall diversified products and services strategy".

There are three SwiftCare clinics in Ireland – at Balally and Swords in Dublin, and Mahon in Cork – treating more than 75,000 patients for urgent care injuries annually.



They provide an alternative to emergency departments operated by hospitals, and charge €125 for a consultation with a doctor and up to €95 per additional treatment.

Latest accounts for VHI Investments Ltd, which holds the State company’s 50 per cent stake in SwiftCare, indicate that the clinics achieved turnover of €13.8 million in 2015 and a pretax profit of €2.8 million.

Commenting on the proposed transaction, Maurice Cox, cofounder and chief executive of Centric Health, said: "The time is now right for us to focus on the development of our core primary care services and this transaction will help us to accelerate our growth."

Centric Health was founded in 2003 and provides a range of healthcare services in Ireland and the UK, employing more than 600 staff and seeing 200,000-plus patients annually. Latest accounts show that Jellia Holdings Ltd, the holding company for Centric Health, made a pretax profit of €4.1 million in 2015 on turnover of €37.5 million.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times