Domestic care company Claimar has declared itself in the mood for further consolidation in its sector after new acquisitions and extra contracts helped it double profits in its first year as a listed company.
The Edgbaston group, which provides care to the elderly and disabled in their own homes, spent #4.3 million on six acquisitions over the last 12 months – #500,000 more than it raised when it floated on AIM in January. The result was a 61 per cent increase in turnover from #8.23 million to #13.22 million, while pretax profits rose by 105 per cent to #970,000 in the year to September 30.
The company said it was still on the look out for further acquisitions after completing the purchase of franchise operator Surecare Community Services after the year end, along with two other firms.
During the period Claimar also won new contracts in Kidderminster, Coventry and Leeds, and secured contract extensions in Tameside, Birmingham, Leicester and Dudley.
The firm also almost doubled the number of staff it employs in the period from 601 to 1,017.
Since then it has grown to 1,300 staff, operating from 26 branches owned directly and 27 franchises delivering a combined 49,700 hours of care to elderly people per week.
Chief executive Mark Hales said he was pleased with the progress of the company, which was now developing momentum with further contracts and acquisitions in the pipeline.
He said: "We have got so much on the go. The last 12 months has been extremely active, but we have got another pipeline of acquisitions and a number of contracts we are shortlisted for.
"We are getting a bit of momentum behind us. It is a very exciting time for us."
Mr Hales said the company was looking to extend its banking facilities as well as another placing of shares to raise funds for expansion in the next 12 months.
The focus of the business would remain on the Midlands and North West because of the vast opportunity for growth in the area.
"By consolidating we can bring efficiencies and economies of scale. For example if one of our offices in Sandwell is short-staffed, we can supply staff from Edgbaston.
"It can also help with training by having it conducted from one central location. But we will look to remain focused on the North West and Midlands.
"There are 3,600 independent providers of care in the country, thousands of which are in the Midlands."
The firm would also look to add to its services by providing care for children and also lower levels of care for elderly people, Mr Hales added. The company said current trading was in line with expectations, with 26,000 hours of care per week being provided in the first six weeks of its new financial year.
The most recent acquisitions, including the franchise operation, will take this figure to nearly 50,000 hours delivered per week, a figure which is expected to increase further in the coming months.
Mr Hales said the new acquisitions meant the firm was less dependent upon any one large local authority and placed it in a good position for further growth.
He said the company welcomed further tough regulation in the care sector, which could also lead to more consolidation.
"Tougher regulation will inevitably require more investment, and we believe that this will cause further consolidation in the sector, benefiting companies such as Claimar as smaller providers choose to, or are forced to, exit the market."