Dublin-based Smiles Dental today announced its purchase of the debt of UK dental practice group James Hull Associates (JHA), with a view to take equity control in the coming weeks. The deal will see Smiles Dental take control of JHA’s 70-plus practices across the UK.

Smiles Dental was established in Ireland in 2005 where it now operates 17 practices. The business was founded to provide specialist teeth whitening services, but has expanded to offer a full dental provision.

Last year the company treated more than 150,000 patients and is now the largest privately-owned provider of dental care in Ireland, with 75 dentists under contract and more than 100 nursing and administration staff.

The deal with JHA represents further expansion into this much larger market. JHA has more than 20 years experience in providing high quality private dental care in the UK, and the merger of the two businesses represents a substantial opportunity for growth.

Emmet O’Neill, CEO of Smiles Dental, said: “We wanted to become involved with JHA because we felt that our two companies had much in common and that the partnership would strengthen both businesses.

"JHA is a strong and well respected company with dental excellence at the heart of its offering. Our hope is that we can use our experience and expertise to work with the team at JHA and continue to grow.

“We’re now focused on identifying how we can make our combined organisations an efficient, profitable company which is well placed to face the challenging conditions of today’s market and which people continue to enjoy working for.”