The UK’s consumer healthcare services market has reached a five-year high for mergers and acquisitions, according to Alantra, an independent global mid-market investment banking and asset management firm.

The market achieved 26 M&A transactions year to date, compared to just 16 in the whole of 2018.

A large proportion of these deals were in the dental, cosmetic and dermatology and fertility segments, with opticians, physiotherapy and veterinary transactions also taking place.

According to Alantra, investors are actively looking to replicate their recent success in consolidating the dentistry and veterinary markets and turning their attention to niches such as fertility and less mature areas such as cosmetics and dermatology.

It added that international strategic buyers are also showing appetite, seeking to enter new and growing markets at a time when the UK’s political situation and the weakness of sterling has created opportunities to offset high valuation multiples.

Alantra director Bobby Fletcher said: “In this attractive market, we are seeing strategic and institutional investors competing for the best businesses. This is creating opportunities for owners and management teams to secure the financial backing they need to fulfil their objectives.

“The global obsession with health, wellness and beauty is driving growth in related subsectors, with consumers taking an increasingly proactive approach to their mental and physical well-being. Despite concerns about the sustainability of broader discretionary consumer spending in the UK, Alantra expects the wellness and consumer healthcare space to remain stable in the face of economic headwinds.”