Sunday 25 August 2019

New investment fund to pump €250m into care homes, leading to creation of 1,500 jobs

Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA

Ellie Donnelly and 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 Ireland’s largest residential care group.

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 to three homes before the end of 2019.

Construction on new sites will 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.

Construction of state-of-the-art homes is expected to begin in early 2020.

BlackBee said the investment will transform Ireland's care sector.

Ireland’s population currently has 637,000 over 65s and 67,000 over 85s.

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

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.

The Cork TD 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.

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