Shaw healthcare (“Shaw”), an employee-owned care provider for the elderly, has agreed to sell a minority stake to Bridges Evergreen Holdings (“Evergreen”) for £10m to accelerate its growth and development.
Care provision for the elderly is approaching crisis point in the UK due to funding pressures and the rapid growth in demand caused by an ageing population and rising life expectancy. The population of over-85-year-olds has increased by almost a third over the last decade to c. 1.5m, and is expected to double to c. 3.2m within the next 25 years – which will also increase the demand for dementia-related and other specialist care.
Shaw is helping to address this under-supply by providing high-quality, affordable residential and nursing care – plus domiciliary care and supported living services – for the elderly, including those with dementia and mental health issues. It is one of the ten largest employee-owned companies in the UK, with over 3,500 employees and revenues of more than £90m last year, and will continue to be substantially owned by its employees for the long-term.
Driven by the ethos to deliver “the quality of care we would want for our loved ones” and brand values of Wellness, Happiness and Kindness, Shaw operates 51 homes across England, Wales and Scotland and enjoys strong relationships with Local Authorities and the NHS, from whom it derives over half of its income through long-term contracts.
Operators in the care sector have long struggled with high staff turnover, which often has a detrimental effect on service quality. Shaw’s focus on increased engagement, employee benefits, high quality training and development opportunities aims to reduce staff turnover and improve the quality and consistency of care – which in turn can make Shaw a more attractive partner for health and social care commissioners.
Evergreen is a permanent capital vehicle managed by Bridges Fund Management (“Bridges”), the specialist sustainable and impact investor. Unlike standard private equity funds, Evergreen has no requirement to exit in a finite period – allowing it to provide financial and operational support to Shaw over the long-term. As part of the deal, Bridges’ Scott Greenhalgh will join the Shaw board as a Non-Executive Director.
Bridges has extensive experience in the care sector. Evergreen’s first investment was in a residential care provider for young people with complex needs. Bridges has also previously backed two domiciliary care providers (one employee-owned), both of which substantially increased their revenues and care provision during Bridges’ investment period. And through its property funds, Bridges has also developed 14 of the most environmentally-friendly care homes in the UK, in partnership with a leading developer.
Jeremy Nixey, founder/CEO of Shaw healthcare, commented:
“As we continue to expand the business and enhance our impact in the coming years we sought an investment partner that shares our values and has a strong record in the care sector. Bridges are the perfect fit and align with our ethos. We welcome Scott to Shaw’s board and look forward to his valuable input in our bright future.”
Scott Greenhalgh, Executive Chairman, Bridges Evergreen Holdings, said:
“Shaw is a great example of the kind of organisation we created Evergreen to support: a high-quality business addressing a clear societal challenge at scale and over the long term, managed by an outstanding team. We believe that as an employee-owned business, its focus on staff engagement serves as an important source of competitive advantage as it looks to deliver the highest quality of care and win new contracts. We look forward to working closely with Jeremy and the team.”
The investment is scheduled for completion in early December.