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Pets at Home earmarks 30 practices for closure
First half profits fell from £40.8 million to £8 million.

Company’s profits fall by 80 per cent, financial report reveals 

Pets at Home could be set to close 30 of its joint venture practices, amid profit losses of more than 80 per cent.

The firm’s latest interim financial report reveals that first half profits fell from £40.8 million to £8 million, largely owing to charges of £29 million that relate to vet business restructuring.

Pets at Home will offer to buy back and consolidate 55 out of the 471 practices. Of these, 25 will be operated as company managed practices, while the remainder may close.

CEO Peter Pritchard, who has led the company since May, commented: “Reviewing our Vet Group has been a priority. I recognise we have grown at pace and more recently, have seen the pressure that rising costs and our fees are placing on this young business.

“We will need to recalibrate the business to deliver more measured growth, whilst maintaining our plan to generate significant cash profits.

“We are focused on maximising our unique assets and delivering a plan for sustainable cashflow and profit growth. Given the success of the changes we have made in Retail, I'm confident we can do this."

Equity analyst Nicholas Hyett, of Hargreaves Lansdown stockbrokers, told Sky News the move represents a major shake-up “as the vets' partners struggle to make sufficient money to pay Pets' fees and still take home a decent wage themselves”.

He added: "That's partly due to factors outside Pets' control. A decline in the number of EU vets in the UK is putting pressure on salaries and also making it more difficult to find new partners."

Image © P L Chadwick (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
British sheep meat to be exported to India in new agreement

The UK government has secured a new export deal of sheep meat to India.

In 2017, UK sheep meat exports were worth £386 million. This new agreement is predicted to increase this value by £6 million over the next five years.

With a range of meat cuts due to be exported, the deal is seen by international trade secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, as “another vote of confidence in our world-leading food and drink”.