Nursery group secures £8m to grow business

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A south-east nursery group has secured multi-million pound investment to fund expansion to more than 20 sites.

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Little Monkeys in Windsor, one of six settings owned by ICP Nurseries

ICP Nurseries, which operates six nurseries in London and the South East, has secured the funding from OakNorth Bank, which provides business loans for entrepreneurs, and will use it to drive further acquisitions.

The group, which has expanded rapidly, bought six nurseries within a period of just five months last year.

It currently operates Little Muffins in Chiswick, The Old Barn in Banstead, Childcare4U Marlow and Beaconsfield, Little Monkeys in central Windsor (pictured), and Windsor Park, all of which are rated good or outstanding.

ICP Nurseries was established in 2016 by Tracey Storey, who has previously been a director at Leapfrog Day Nurseries and Happy Child. She co-owns the group with private equity firm Innervation Capital Partners.

Ms Storey told Nursery World that they were currently talking to a 'select group' of potential acquistions, with the goal of operating 20-25 nurseries under the group.

She said,'The £8m will help us achieve our core growth ambitions. ICP Nurseries was established to put together leading nursery businesses in London and the South East. The group is very selective, and only acquires nurseries with the very best child outcomes and reputation in the local area.

'We now have six nurseries in our portfolio and aim to selectively expand on this number over the coming years, acquiring well-located nurseries with strong Ofsted ratings, and passionate staff and management.'

Priya Chauhan, debt finance director at OakNorth Bank, said, ‘ICP Nurseries has a proven track record of acquiring and integrating nursery businesses, and a well-defined strategy for growth. Tracey Storey has extensive experience of running nursery groups and a number of contacts in the industry.

'With increasing demand and over 1.4 million under-fives in London and the South East, we have no doubt that ICP Nurseries will achieve its ambitious growth plans, and look forward to working with them in building a market-leading group.’

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