Bertram nursery group acquired in management buyout

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Bertram Nursery Group, one of the largest nursery groups in the UK, has been bought by its management, with funding from Apiary Capital and Santander.

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Bertram Nursery Group managing director Cary Rankin with staff and children

Founded in 2001 by Graeme Scott and Tom Lyons with the opening of the Strawberry Hill nursery in Edinburgh, the group has grown to 36 nurseries across North West England and Scotland. It provides around 2,900 nursery places and employs 800 staff.

The management team is led by managing director Cary Rankin, who has been with the company since 2015, and previously worked for kidsunlimited and Bright Horizons.

Stuart Sheehy is joining the group as finance director, alongside Malcolm Hughes as chairman. Bertram said they both have significant experience in the broader education and healthcare sectors.

Mr Rankin said, ‘This is an exciting time for everyone at Bertram. The transaction will allow us to continue to invest in the training and development of our staff whilst creating environments that allow them to deliver the very best levels of care and education.  We will continue to look at ways to make Bertram a great place to work, and a safe and fun place for children to play and learn about the world they live in.’

Jeniv Shah, investment director at Apiary Capital, said, ‘Cary and his team have impressed us with their commitment to delivering outstanding quality of care and education. We are looking forward to supporting them as they continue to develop the group’s existing nurseries as well as expanding Bertram’s footprint through further acquisitions.

‘We would like to thank Graeme and Tom for their involvement in securing our investment and wish them well in their future plans.’

Rockpool Investments LLP, who provided growth capital to the business in December 2014, are also exiting the group as part of the transaction.

There are unconfirmed reports that the group plans to expand to 100 nurseries with Apiary Capital’s backing, continuing to grow in Scotland and the North West, but also expanding further across England.

In Nursery Chains 2018, Bertram was the 10th largest nursery group in the UK with 37 nurseries and 2,923 places.

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