VCA Antech's Management Presents At Bank Of America Merrill Lynch Health Care Conference (Transcript)

VCA Antech, Inc. (WOOF)

Bank of America Merrill Lynch Health Care Conference Call

May 17, 2012 14:20 ET

Executives

Tom Fuller – Chief Financial Officer

Jeff Framer – Corporate Controller

Analysts

Erin Wilson – Bank of America

Bob Willoughby – Bank of America

Presentation

Erin Wilson – Bank of America

….services team with Bob Willoughby. We are happy to have such a strong animal health contingent this year at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Health Care Conference. Up next, we have VCA Antech, the leading animal hospital chain and leader of what we’d like to call the diagnostic sector.

And with that, I’ll hand it over to the Chief Financial Officer, Tom Fuller.

Tom Fuller

Thank you, Erin. I am Tom Fuller, the CFO of VCA. With me is Jeff Framer, who is actually our new Corporate Controller. And about six months ago I think Jeff has the – unfortunately he jumped into a company and spend the last six months at Vetstreet managing the financial side of that business, which is a great business that we’re behind schedule and we’re trying to achieve. But he’s doing a great job. So he is here today. As you take a moment to peruse our Safe Harbor disclosure, take a moment to reflect on what amazing company we have and what we’ve done. Just noticed one of our latest versions of the hat is 1986, which is actually, Bob’s asked me what that stands for, and that’s actually when we started the company, so we’re in our 25th year now. Look back what we’ve accomplished the past 25 years, it’s really transformative; invested in the industry, really created an industry.

So where we are today is, I think we’ve done a fantastic job the past three years, three and a half years of dealing with a tough economy; cut cost significantly; mitigate the brain damage on margins by cutting costs. Along the way, we’ve done a great job of continuing to invest in the company, and I think we’re well positioned to see a terrific growth in revenue and margin once – if the economy continues to see stability and grow in the future. We are now the industry leader in what is a great market; $29 million market; 189 million pets; over half the households in the country own a pet. And the great thing is really across all socioeconomic demographic, we have hospitals in Beverly Hills, West LA, Manhattan, and hospitals in Redding, California and in Redding, Pennsylvania. So really they’re everywhere, and those of you who have pets, know firsthand, and those who don’t have pets, Joe, I am sure you know from friends (indiscernible) habits, are frankly kooky about our pets, we will spend money within reason.

Specialization is exploding in veterinary care. So, all the ologies you see in human healthcare from dermatology, oncology, radiology, surgery, cataract surgery is huge, ACL surgery is huge. It’s exploding in veterinary, which is a growth driver. But not just in specialty medicine, but also because the specialization makes general practitioners think more medically oriented, do more work cases up do more medicine. So it’s a great market. It appears to be growing in all the signs we can see from lab volumes are up, so doctors are doing more diagnostics; pet adoptions are up. Bob covers PetSmart, and I think with record adoptions last month, Erin?

Erin Wilson – Bank of America

Yeah, record trends.

Tom Fuller

Record adoptions that you may emphasize as we do a lot of business, we’re getting referrals from nursing; increase in pet adoptions after several years of decrease in pet adoptions. So everything we can see is moving in the right direction. We are the industry leader; the largest owner-operator of standalone hospitals in the country. VCA Antech services 16,000 to 22,000 hospitals nationally plus up in Canada. Sound-Eklin is a leading seller of ultrasound and digital radiology solutions for veterinarians. And our new addition Vetstreet – Vetstreet is 6,500 subscribers, the clear leader in terms of subscribers and products and that, because one of our background segment could be to focus in that 180 million pets in the country. And what’s amazing about Vetstreet is their database contains pet information for 40 million pets. So 20% of the pets in the country is in Vetstreet’s database, which has potential huge, huge power going forward.

Looking back, what we have done to the industry, the amount of investment we’ve made both in terms of capital and in terms of focus on the industry, really have been transformative. Starting back 25 years ago, creating an industry; creating jobs and providing careers; providing doctors, seller, hospital owners liquidity so they could retire; really changing that business. And then bringing and growing through more quality medicine on that foundation that people are bonded with their pets. And much of that growth in the quality of medicine comes from diagnostics, both Antech Diagnostics, which we are the leader in and technologies.

Before we got involved, laboratory and veterinary was mom and pop. We call it garage because literally the first lab we bought back in 1988 was a garage; and now, it’s not unlike what you’d see in the human side. We’ve invested in people. We’re the largest employer in the veterinary channel; creating careers in medical administration. We train – we have trained 1,000 interns in post-graduate training programs, currently training 152, internship programs, externship programs, residency programs, which really allows us to imprint VCA on the new generation. Of roughly 22,000 veterinary graduates per year, we actually get to train 152 of them post-graduate. We’re investing in hospitals. We continue to invest last year $90 million, $100 million plus in the first quarter of this year.

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