A YORK veterinary group has announced its second round of acquisitions in less than a month as it grows its equine division.

Holgate-based VetPartners, which just last week saw its majority shareholding sold to international investment firm BC Partners LLP, has acquired two of the UK’s leading equine practices.

The firm says the arrival of Liphook Equine Hospital in Liphook, Hampshire, and Rainbow Equine Hospital in Malton, underlines VetPartners’ venture into the equine and mixed sector.

The group built up a strong base of nearly 70 small animal practices across England, Scotland and Wales, before moving into the equine and mixed market earlier this year.

Liphook and Rainbow join their other equine practices, Minster Equine, Ashbrook Equine Hospital, Gillivervet, Hampden Vets, Hale Veterinary Group, Penbode Vets Uplands Way Vets and Abbey Vets.

VetPartners chief executive Jo Malone said the group, which was established in October 2015, would continue to expand its equine sector.

Former Minster Vets director Julian Rishworth has been appointed as VetPartners Head of Equine and the group has established a Graduate Development Programme for its equine division.

Ms Malone said: “Liphook and Rainbow are two of the leading equine hospitals in the UK and we are privileged they chose to join us.

“It was an active decision to move into the equine sector and we want to do that properly by attracting leading hospitals to the group to set the tone on the standard of care and make it more appealing to other equine practices who want to be part of a bigger group.

“Expanding our equine sector will have huge advantages for practices from a career development point of view, from our Graduate Development Programme to having some of the UK’s top specialists.

“Our collaborative approach across the group will also enable us to share the expertise, knowledge and experience of some highly talented team members at leading UK equine practices.”

Some 83 small animal, equine and farm practices are part of VetPartners, which has 3,500 employees working across 313 sites across the UK.

Expansion is set to continue and VetPartners expects to have 350 sites by the end of 2018.