Nurseries provide bumper return

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One of the most successful and rapidly growing nursery companies in the UK has been sold to a trade buyer in a deal has generated an excellent return for the vendor and promises to give the business further impetus.

Treetops Nurseries has been sold to Busy Bees for £93m. This gives Epiris a 6.5x return on its investment at an IRR of an impressive 59%. The company’s earnings have more than quadrupled under Epiris’ stewardship.

Treetops runs 61 schools across the UK, providing places for more than 6,000 children and employing 1,300 people, making it fourth largest such business in the UK. It will now become part of a much bigger group, joining the network of 268 schools that Busy Bees operates.

Amid much mutual congratulation, Chris Hanna at Epiris said: “In 2012 we designed a strategy to transform Treetops. Five years later we have delivered. Treetops’ position as one of the largest nursery school operators in the UK is the result of a programme of growth investment, operational improvement and M&A. We couldn’t have done this without Charles Eggleston, CEO of Treetops, and his team, and we wish them well under new ownership.”

While Charles Eggleston comments: “Epiris has been a fantastic investor for Treetops. Chris and his team set out a clear vision for the business and provided invaluable support as we have worked to fulfil it.”
Epiris was advised by PwC Corporate Finance and Eversheds Sutherland in the sale.

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