Three in a row for Waterland’s physiotherapy provider group: ATHERA acquires several new therapy centers


Physiotherapy service provider ATHERA (formerly Rehacon), has recently acquired “Das Zentrum”, “Therapie-Zentrum Gert Ehlers” and the physiotherapy practices “Heim & Hendrixen”. The group currently operates more than 120 physiotherapy institutions throughout Germany, with its central headquarters in Gelsenkirchen. ATHERA, along with majority shareholder Waterland Private Equity, will further strengthen its practice network in Cologne, Wolfsburg and Oberhausen, demonstrating a clear growth trajectory for a group brand established only earlier this year. The current owners and managing directors of the three new additions will stay on board, providing operational support for the upcoming integration. The acquisition of Cologne-based Das Zentrum was already completed in September while the remaining two were signed in November and will prospectively be completed in Spring 2021.

All three acquisition targets are market leaders in their respective regions. Das Zentrum, located centrally in Cologne’s Ehrenfeld district, offers physiotherapy and occupational therapy as well as rehabilitation sports, with its 20 employees. The physiotherapy practices Heim & Hendrixen, employs 25 people in two locations. They are specialized on supporting a number of retirement homes in and around the region of Oberhausen. The two practices offer manual therapy, sports physiotherapy as well as a tailored therapy offering for golf. Heim & Henrixen provides more than one third of its services outside of company facilities, visiting patients wherever it is convenient for them. Therapie-Zentrum Gert Ehlers is the largest physiotherapy and occupational therapy provider in Wolfsburg’s Vorsfelde district. With a team of 33 it offers all common forms of therapy including physiotherapy, manual therapy and massages.

By integrating the aforementioned three companies into the group, ATHERA aims to further expand its service network and leverage synergies through measures such as centralized accounting and purchasing as well as more focused recruiting. This helps ATHERA, formerly known as Rehacon, to further establish itself as one of the leading providers of physiotherapy and rehabilitation services in Germany and increase its staff to over 1,000 people. The group is known for its consistent high quality, valued by both patients and employees. Since Waterland acquired a majority share in the group almost two years ago, ATHERA’s growth has been significant. A total of eleven acquisitions mark the start of an ambitious buy-&-build expansion.

“Our newest acquisitions are particularly interesting both for the expansion of our service portfolio and for the integration of our dedicated homecare capabilities into the group. This allows us to strengthen our practice network in Northern Germany and the Rhein-Ruhr area,the largest metropolitan region in Germany”, says Albrecht Grell, Managing Director at ATHERA.

“With the acquisitions in Cologne, Oberhausen and Wolfsburg, we further support the growth of ATHERA group as part of a buy-&-build strategy. The goal is to establish a market leader in the field of physiotherapy services with a strong network of practices throughout Germany. ATHERA has proven to be an energetic brand with a strong growth trajectory, even during uncertain periods. The influx of new group members shows that brand trust is high among therapy professionals”, says Dr Carsten Rahlfs, Managing Partner at Waterland.

Waterland has extensive experience in the healthcare market. In addition to MEDIAN, the leading private operator of rehabilitation clinics in Germany at over 120 locations, the ATOS clinic group specializing in orthopedics, elderly care provider Schönes Leben as well as sports and fitness aggregator Hansefit also comprise Waterland’s portfolio in this sector.

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