Winnipeg-based Amenity Health Care bought by Toronto firm

The growing Winnipeg-based operator of retail pharmacies across Western Canada, Amenity Health Care, has been acquired by the Toronto private equity firm, TorQuest Partners.

Founded in 2013 by David Asper, Dalbir Bains and other Winnipeg investors, it has grown steadily by acquiring independent pharmacies mostly located in communities typically with underserviced health and wellness facilities.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Amenity has acquired an average of seven to 10 pharmacies per year and Bains, CEO of the company, said the sale to TorQuest gives it the capital resources to allow it to continue the program with more resources at its disposal.

“This is about accelerating our growth now that we have a proven business model,” Bains said.

“(TorQuest) is a company that works with companies our size to scale and grow them.”

Amenity Health Care may not be a well-known retail brand because the pharmacies it acquires continue to operate with their legacy names — some of which were second- or third-generation family businesses — honouring their commitments to their communities

TorQuest Partners, which was founded in 2002, has more than $2 billion of equity capital under management. Amenity is the second investment in its $925-million TorQuest Partners Fund IV that closed in June 2016.

It typically invests in middle-market companies, preferring to invest between $10 million and $100 million per transaction in companies valued between $40 million and $250 million.

In a prepared statement, Daniel Sonshine, a partner at TorQuest, said, “Since Amenity was founded in 2013, it has achieved tremendous growth, while maintaining its patient-first philosophy. We believe the business is well-positioned to meet the growing health-care needs of the communities it serves as the general population continues to age in Canada.”

Amenity has added value to the pharmacy businesses it acquires by co-locating with or adding medical clinics. Bains, who has re-invested in the enterprise and will continue on as its CEO, said Amenity has recruited doctors from the U.K. and across Canada.

He said the plan is to continue to grow the network, suggesting that the past pace of seven to 10 new stores per year will likely be on the low end of the expected growth rate over the next five to 10 years.

Amenity will continue to operate out of Winnipeg where it has a head office staff of about 20 people. The company employs about 380 people in its 32 stores in the four Western provinces.

While it does specialize in small-town locations, Amenity also owns stores in Edmonton, Regina and Winnipeg, including Regent Park Pharmacy, Meadowood Pharmacy and St. Norbert Clinic.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

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