strategy thatled to losses

1st Dental was co-founded by former chairman Andrew Garner in 2000.

It listed on the Alternative Investment Market in 2002 with a buy-and-build strategy.

At the time it aimed to target the then 2.8bn UK dental market and the increasing number of patients seeking private treatment.

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It hoped to lead the consolidation of the 2,600 small dental laboratories across the UK at the time, to create a nationwide laboratory service.

In December 2004 it bought its biggest competitor, Benchmark, for 4.7m in cash and shares, taking it to 15 laboratories and 320 staff.

However, difficulties with this acquisition and changes in the NHS led it to report repeated losses. Mr Garner left 1st Dental in September 2009 to focus on other businesses.

It fell into administration late last month, just two months after reporting modest half-year pre-tax profits, its first for years.

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