Archive for March, 2010

Virgin Group Enters Healthcare Sector With Majority Shareholding in Assura Medical

Posted on March 6, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Assura Medical – Virgin Group Enters Healthcare Sector With Majority Shareholding in Assura Medical.


  • Assura Group (“Assura”) has sold a 75.1% stake in its medical services business to Virgin Healthcare
  • In addition to retaining a 24.9% stake, Assura has received a £4 million Loan Note
  • Virgin Group will provide further funding to develop the medical services business
  • Assura will focus on its core property and pharmacy activities

London, March 1st 2010:

Virgin Group (“Virgin” or “The Group”) is today pleased to announce that it has realised a long-held ambition to enter the healthcare sector with the acquisition of a 75.1% share-holding in Assura Medical, a provider of primary healthcare services. Assura will retain a significant minority shareholding in this new partnership. Richard Burrell, Chief Executive of Assura, will join the Board of Virgin Healthcare alongside Patrick McCall and Gaurav Batra from Virgin Group.

The new partnership between Virgin Group and Assura, initially under the Assura Medical brand, aims to become one of the leading companies providing primary healthcare services to the NHS and its patients. Assura will invest £4 million of the proceeds to retain a 24.9% stake in Assura Medical.

Assura Medical forms collaborative joint venture partnerships with NHS GP practices to provide primary care, urgent care and outpatient services, diagnostics and day case procedures outside of hospitals, in the community. This approach demands new ways of delivering services, putting the patient at the heart of the healthcare experience.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, commented:

“Healthcare is a sector that the Virgin Group has been extremely interested in entering for some time but we have always said that the partner and the timing had to be right – with Assura we believe we have found the perfect partner. The Assura Medical business is underpinned by a passion for patients, a strong focus for delivering quality and safe health outcomes and a commitment to work in partnership with those who deliver healthcare.  I am excited that Virgin and Assura will continue to develop this business, working alongside our NHS partners, to bring excellent, high-quality services right to the heart of patients’ communities.”

Richard Burrell, Chief Executive Officer of Assura, commented:

“Virgin is the ideal organisation to enable the Assura Medical business to fulfil its potential. We have developed a strong business model to assist GPs and the NHS and an established platform which, with Virgin’s help, will flourish and be much stronger in the long term. Virgin is a consumer brand synonymous with quality and service and is well placed to serve a patient-led NHS. Assura benefits from the upside of the business through its 25 percent stake and looks forward to a long term partnership with Virgin.”

The management team of Assura Medical will be led by Bart Johnson and Dr Vivienne McVey, both of whom will remain with the business under Virgin’s ownership, providing continuity of existing services and relationships with the NHS, GP partners and patients. The management team remain committed to the original vision of improving the patient experience of healthcare, and are pleased with this significant investment in future opportunities and growth.

Editors notes:


Assura Medical’s GPCos are healthcare provider organisations formed in partnership with groups of GPs. In total, the 30 GPCos represent partnerships with over 1500 GPs servicing more than 3 million patients in England.  They provide a range of high quality primary and intermediate community-based NHS services, including outpatient services, diagnostic procedures, day care surgery and GP-led health centres.  The services provided aim to give choice to patients, often outside of normal working hours, and have strict quality assurance mechanisms in place.

Virgin Group:

Virgin is a leading branded venture capital organization and is one of the world’s most recognised and respected brands. Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow very successful businesses in sectors ranging from mobile telephony to transportation, travel, financial services, media, music and fitness.  Virgin has ten years experience in wellness through our successful chain of Virgin Active health clubs we now have over 1,000,000 members around the world after starting with one club in Preston 10 years ago.  
Virgin has created more than 200 branded companies worldwide, employing approximately 50,000 people, in 29 countries. Global branded revenues in 2009 exceeded £11.5 billion.

Assura Group

Assura Group, which was established in November 2003, is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is one of the leading healthcare companies in the UK. Assura’s property business develops and retains for long term investment GP surgeries and primary care property. Assura also operates a network of health centre based pharmacies. At 30 September 2009, Assura’s property portfolio comprised 117 investment properties, 3 investment properties under construction and investments in 6 Local Improvement Finance Trusts (LIFT) companies. In addition Assura had 32 pharmacies trading, the majority of which are located within health centres.

For information contact:

Jackie McQuillan or Nick Fox:
Virgin Group Press Office:  + 44 207 229 4738


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