Arcare to grow aged care behemoth

An artist’s impression of Arcare’s Glenhaven aged care community in NSW.

Private aged care group Arcare will double its number of beds under management within two years as it extends its lead as the largest privately owned group in the sector.

The company owned by rich-listers the Knowles family has decided to press ahead with a national expansion after rebuffing countless offers from listed and private providers to buy the portfolio in the past two years.

Industry giant Healthscope lobbed a $200 million offer to buy the group in 2010 in a deal scuppered at the eleventh hour, and recent bids are understood to have valued the company much higher.

The portfolio now stands at 2600 beds across 27 facilities in Victoria and Queensland, and will reach 4000 beds by the end of 2018, with three new facilities slated to open in NSW before the end of the year.

The company is aggressively pursing a growth strategy in NSW, where it turned the sod on its first development this week at Glenhaven

The group will continue to grow as a private entity held by the family, according to John Knowles, who founded and co-owns the business with his brothers Graham and Russell.

“We decided that we didn’t want to lose our autonomy, and we got to a point where we were very comfortable with a succession plan that saw the company stay within the family,” John Knowles says.

Arcare is headed by chief executive Colin Singh, and is part of the broader investment company, the Knowles Group, which is held by the family. Each of the three brothers have families of their own who are involved with the group at a board level.

It is an effective structure and will be sustained as each of the three brothers make plans for retirement, Knowles says.

In the meantime, the company is aggressively pursing a growth strategy in NSW, where it turned the sod on its first development this week at Glenhaven, about 35km northwest of Sydney’s CBD.

We decided that we didn’t want to lose our autonomy, and we got to a point where we were very comfortable with a succession plan that saw the company stay within the family

The group has also secured development sites in Warriewood on Sydney’s northern beaches and at Oatlands, about five minutes from Parramatta, in an ongoing campaign to scout for more sites in the city’s middle rings.

The 6500sqm site in Oatlands was purchased in 2015 and will add 110 places and $50 million to the value of Arcare’s property portfolio. Purchased in the same year, Warriewood will occupy a 20,000sqm site with an aged-care residence and 40 town­houses, contributing 139 beds and $80 million to Arcare’s balance sheet.

This article originally appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au/property.