Care home firm in £75m buyout

AN Essex-based care homes business has been sold for £75million.Private equity firm Bowmark Capital LLP has backed the buyout of Healthcare Homes Group, based at Langham, near Colchester.

AN Essex-based care homes business has been sold for £75million.

Private equity firm Bowmark Capital LLP has backed the buyout of Healthcare Homes Group, based at Langham, near Colchester.

The buyout team was led by Healthcare Homes chief executive Richard Clough, who already knew the Bowmark partners through previous successful investments including of health and social care provider Care UK. Mr Clough was chief executive of Care UK before going on to co-found Healthcare Homes.

August Equity, the previous private equity firm backers of the group, announced its exit yesterday following the completion of the sale.

August Equity originally invested in the elderly residential care provider in August 2005, when it consisted of four homes with a total of 100 beds.

Healthcare Homes now has 21 homes and 800 beds. Its nursing homes include Aldringham Court at Aldeburgh, Barking Hall, near Needham Market, and Mill Lane, Felixstowe.

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Its portfolio also includes residential homes such as Maynell House at Felixstowe, Oaklands House, Southwold, Fornham House, Bury St Edmunds and Uvedale Hall at Needham Market.

In February this year, the group acquired Manorcourt Care Ltd in Norfolk, its eighth successful acquisition since August Equity came on the scene three years previously.

Mr Clough, who set up the business with former work colleagues David Bates and Graham Lomer, said they were delighted at the deal. The sale would mean they would be able to “grow gently” as Bowmark was making further investment funds available to them, he added.

“We are grateful for the support that August Equity has provided in driving the growth of the group. We look forward to working with Bowmark in continuing our buy-and-build strategy and maintaining the development of high standards that is synonymous with Healthcare Homes Group,” he said.

Bowmark partner Kevin Grassby welcomed the deal, which involves Bowmark investing £35million of equity funding for a significant majority interest in the company, and Royal Bank of Scotland backing the deal to the tune of £40million with a senior debt facility.

“The management team has a proven track record of building and running successful residential care businesses. They have already identified an attractive pipeline of potential acquisitions, and we are excited at the prospect of working with the team to build a leading private-pay business with national coverage,” said Mr Grassby.

August Equity partner Philip Rattle, who leads its healthcare team, said: “We have enjoyed working with Richard Clough and the management team at Healthcare Homes Group. The growth of the group has been impressive over the past three years and the team has continued to ensure that the highest standards of care are offered to the residents of the homes.”

A recent survey commissioned by August Equity found healthcare was the sector most likely to do well in the current market uncertainty. The research, carried out by Remark, a research arm of Mergermarket, found that the healthcare sector was perceived by 17% of respondents to be “hot” in the current economic environment, closely following by energy, mining and utilities.