Pets at Home shares stuck despite profit rise

SHARES in Pets at Home were stuck below their flotation price today despite the firm meeting targets with a double-digit hike in profits.

Shares in Pets at Home have remained below their flotation price. Picture: Jane Barlow

Chief executive Nick Wood said it had been “a pivotal year” for the business after it joined the stock market in March with a valuation of about £1.2 billion.

“Our results demonstrate how we are building on our leading position in the UK pet care market,” he said.

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The company, whose 377 outlets include 277 veterinary practices and 129 pet pampering Groom Rooms, claims to have a 12 per cent share of the market, and has more stores than its five biggest rivals combined in what is a fragmented sector. The results revealed a 12 per cent rise in full-year profits to £110.7 million.

During the year, the firm expanded by opening 32 additional pet stores, 69 veterinary practices and 42 Groom Rooms. It is now the largest small animal veterinary services provider in the UK after the integration of Vets4Pets, which it acquired in March last year.

Shares in the group dipped 3.25p or 1.5 per cent to end the day at 213.75p. The stock is among a number that floated earlier this year which still trade below their original offer prices. Pets at Home launched in March at 245p.

In its prospectus ahead of the flotation, the company said it expected its maiden annual results to show profits of at least £110.2m.

Retail analyst Nick Bubb said: “[Profit] at Pets was only 12 per cent up last year at £111m and the suspicion is that there isn’t much gas left in the [fish] tank.”