There was a lot of optimism around at the start of 2020. Operators and investors we spoke to had a 'C' word on their lips. That word was consolidation. Whether it was the enticing prospect of consolidating the €26bn dental market, or IPOing the world's most internationally diversified for-profit service operators, HBI's digital pages were brimming with plans. Another 'C' word, sadly, had a different idea.