Monday 16 September 2019

Investment fund targets €250m pot to buy and develop new care homes

1,500 new jobs predicted by Aperee

Vital: Tanaiste Simon Coveney at the launch yesterday
Vital: Tanaiste Simon Coveney at the launch yesterday

Ellie Donnelly & Ralph Riegel

A new investment fund, Aperee, is looking to raise €250m to purchase and develop care homes in Ireland.

Cork-based investment firm BlackBee is behind the fund, which it says will create the largest residential care group in the country.

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The money is being targeted from both institutional and professional private investors and around €30m has been raised to-date.

The investment will initially see the construction of 1,000 beds and the acquisition of 750 existing beds, according to the group.

Over 1,500 new jobs will be created, while 1,000 existing jobs will be sustained, and a further 800 will be supported during the construction of homes, the company added.

A number of target sites and existing homes have already been identified around the country, and Aperee expects to acquire two or three homes before the end of 2019. One development has already been acquired in Munster.

Construction on new sites is expected to begin next year.

David O'Shea, director of BlackBee, said: "This fund is designed to show how the private sector can actively support the public sector by providing a supply of quality care home beds to meet the rapidly-growing demand."

"Investors will benefit from a real return, while those using the homes will still have prices set by the National Treatment Purchase Fund."

The fund is due to open in September and its managers BlackBee said the investment will transform Ireland's care sector.

Ireland's 4.7m population currently includes 637,000 over-65s and 67,000 over-85s.

However, it is estimated that by 2040 this will increase to a staggering 1.2 million over-65s and 216,000 who are older than 85.

Ireland has a current supply of approximately 30,000 residential beds but by 2040 the demand will need to increase to approximately 59,000.

The investment campaign was launched by Tánaiste Simon Coveney who said the provision of care options was vital.

"Thankfully we are living healthier and longer lives in Ireland and will need new options for caring for our older population who still have a lot to give," he said.

"I want to wish BlackBee and Aperee every success with this investment and I look forward to seeing these new facilities coming on stream."

Aperee will be led by chief executive Paul Kingston. The firm will have Cork businessman Alf Smiddy as chairman.

In the 12 months to 31 December 2017, revenue at BlackBee Investments, of which rugby legend Donal Lenihan and ex-Ulster Bank chief economist Pat McArdle are directors, increased to €4.5m from €3.3m.

The group have reported a gross profit of €2.5m in respect of 2017.

Irish Independent

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