Chris Day, global managing director, launched ‘Business Outlook 2019: Navigate, Innovate, Accelerate’, which reflects on 2018 and forecasts what 2019 might bring.
The dental sector grew by 5.2% in 2018, down from 12.3% in 2017.
‘Last year was another strong year in the transactional market,’ Simon Hughes, managing director – medical at Christie & Co, said.
‘Although price increases were more moderate than in previous years.
‘We expect 2019 to be equally good with a better supply of dental practices coming onto the market.’
Driven by quality
In 2019, Christie & Co says the dental sector will be driven more by quality practices.
Its report also predicts further market consolidation, with corporates currently owning 12% of practices in the UK.
Last year also saw a shift in demand towards private dentistry, the report shows.
‘We expect more corporate dental operators to be active in 2019 as portfolios are reshaped through divestment and acquisition,’ Mr Hughes continues.
‘Quality private practices will be sought after to balance the risk of NHS contract reforms and boost growth.’
Journalist and broadcaster, Andrew Neil, speaking at the launch, said the UK economy will be hard to predict in 2019.
He said at the launch that 2019 would start off with financial uncertainty due to Brexit.
However, he believes there will be an upturn in Spring if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.
‘The era of cheap money is now coming to an end,’ Mr Neil stated.
‘For those living on credit, now is the time to reduce your leverage.’
Mr Hughes concluded: ‘As with so much relating to Brexit, the precise impact on the dental sector is unclear.
‘What we can say is that prior to the referendum there was a marked decrease in the number of EEA dentists coming to the UK.
‘This in part has contributed to a lack of dentists, particularly in the NHS sector.’