A home care operation launched by a husband-andwife team has snapped up a rival firm to create a business with an annual turnover of more than £12 million.
The move will see Birmingham-based Claimar Care operating a network of 18 regional offices and employing more than 900 people.
The company, which already has a operations in the Midlands and North-west, has acquired Abbeydale Home Care, which serves Greater Manchester and Lancashire.
A spokesman said Claimar had an annual turnover of £9 million-plus and Abbeydale turnover of £3.3 million.
The value of the deal was not disclosed.
Chief executive Mark Hales said: "Abbeydale Home Care is a strategically important acquisition for us.
"It has a skilled, experienced management and staff and a number of valuable long-term local authority contracts, which, together with our existing staff and contracts, will make us number one in the region.
"Importantly, the combined resources of the enlarged group will ensure continuity of service and a maintained quality of care as demand for home care services continues to increase."
Abbeydale Home Care operates from five offices in Great Harwood, Chorley, Nelson, Bolton and Salford, employing more than 260 care staff who provide more than 6,000 hours of services each week.
Edgbaston business Claimar already has a presence in the region with offices in Wigan, Bolton, St. Helens, Middleton and Ashton-under-Lyne.
It now believes it is the biggest operator in the North-west.
Formed just over ten years ago by husband and wife Jim and Retha Ceaser, there is speculation it may be poised to float on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
The business is still in the family - chief executive Mr Hales is the founders' son-in-law.
More than 90 per cent of Claimar's revenue comes directly from long-term contracts with local authorities and the remaining income comes from contracts with private individuals.
The business supplies care workers to around 18 local authorities with the aim of allowing people to continue to enjoy as independent a life as possible in their own home.
All their care staff are trained in house, regardless of previous experience, with services ranging from shopping and basic personal hygiene to specialised care for medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.
Claimar also provides staff and management for sheltered housing schemes.
A company spokesman said the creation and rapid expansion of the private care sector has been driven by two main factors.
Firstly, under the provisions of the 1990 Community Care Act, local authorities were required to provide home care and to spend a proportion of their funds buying these services in the independent sector. He also said that successive governments had pursued a policy of providing more care at home rather than in institutions.