In their latest major tech-enabled health services deal, our CP Deals team provided corporate finance advice to the Antser Group as it underwent a management buyout, backed by YFM Equity Partners (YFM).

Midlands-based Antser Group is a leading, tech-driven provider of assessments and social care training.

It comprises of Carter Brown, a Mansfield-based provider of independent psychological, psychiatric and social work assessments for child-related safeguarding, and Antser Learning, a Birmingham-based, VR-powered training tool for front-line children’s care practitioners.

Antser Group has a combined revenue of £10m, and the buyout transaction will allow them to build on past successes and strengthen their mission to provide better outcomes for children, young people, families, vulnerable adults and communities.

Antser CEO, Richard Dooner said:

“Cooper Parry helped us with the successful sale of Tri-x last year, so we were keen to work with them again on the buyout of the Antser Group. It certainly helped that they already had a good understanding of our business, the sector and our working style.

The transaction took a big effort from all involved, Andy, Ollie & their team persevered to help get the deal over the line successfully. We all at Antser are now very excited for what lies ahead in this new chapter with YFM.”

Andy Parker, Corporate Finance Partner, CP Deals, added:

“The CP Deals team continue to show their market knowledge and deal-making skills in the health and social care and technology sectors. We’ve had a strong relationship with the Antser team for some time now, so it’s great to have provided support on this landmark transaction and we wish them every success for the future.”

Cooper Parry Corporate Finance’s fifth annual Healthcare event brought some of the UK’s most exciting Health & Social Care business leaders and industry experts to London’s Royal Society of Medicine.  

We asked our panel of speakers their thoughts on solving issues in the Health & Social Care system and how to transform it going forward.   

Find out what Paul Johnson, CEO & Co-Founder of Radar Healthcare, Garry McCord, CEO at Healthcare Business Solutions, David Lynes, CEO & Founder of Unique IQ, and James Silk, Partner at CIL Management Consultants had to say. 

1. First up, a big one. How can we solve the waiting list crisis?

The answer, for all our panellists, lies in innovation. Garry McCord said politicians need to be brave and “break the model”, giving people direct access to services, because seeing their GP slows things down. Digital tools at the front end can, and already are helping with the triage of people so they don’t always have to see someone in person before decisions are made. 

Paul Johnson spoke about tech suppliers, like his own company Radar Healthcare, and their need to be innovative. Right now, however, the priority isn’t “sexy innovation”, but creating capacity in the system.  

Paul noted that data, machine learning and AI are no longer buzz words but “must words” and a surgeon can save a life, but data can save thousands. Tech providers need to create capacity to create time at the bedside for clinicians.

2. How can we solve bed blocking and get people back into the community?

Again, perhaps unsurprisingly given the panel of speakers and the unquestionable importance of digital solutions right now, the focus remained on tech. David Lynes spoke of discharging patients quickly as being a big growth area in HealthTech. 

The challenge is mobilising the right people and providing the right tools to build self-managed teams. It needs to be flexible and move away from the typical domiciliary care processes. People are always the most valuable asset, so we need to make sure we’re using them in the best way possible. 

3. What should the priorities be for preventive care?  

Here, the panel discussed the importance of addressing health inequalities. Particularly, ensuring equitable access to healthcare services, targeted interventions, and tailored outreach programs to address disparities in outcomes. 

“Health inequality is in every major city,” Paul Johnson told us. “Life expectancy differs in Birmingham by 10 years between postcodes.” So, the priority should be community services, improving access and helping those at the lower end of the health divide. Start there and it will have a material impact.  

Our audience chipped in with some questions of their own, and given the industry experience of all in attendance, we knew full well there’d be some gems. 

4. How can we solve the issue of doctors moving to the private sector? 

Many dentists have already moved from the NHS to the private sector. GPs are doing the same now and a large number are retiring. So, with no current government incentive to increase numbers or active recruitment overseas, where do the staff come from? 

Garry McCord said we can’t focus on increasing numbers. Instead, we need to reduce demand for GPs through digital tools, be that AI or straightforward questionnaires software. As one guest said, the government also needs to look at future proofing the sector to account for the higher percentage of women and primary care givers taking up medical degrees in recent years, making sure the options of more flexible working patterns and reduced hours become a reality. 

5. How widely is AI being used in social care? 

Although AI has been kicking around for ten years, it’s only recently got real traction as people have realised it can be a key component in person-centred care, creating more quality human contact time – not less.  

As a result, there’s huge potential for AI in this area, David Lynes told us. It can be used to get the right people to look after the right clients – something that’s challenging for humans to organise at scale, make care safer, evidence care and reduce time spent writing care plans. 

The challenge is making sure all this new technology and new systems are interoperable, giving care providers a connected, holistic view of their employees and patients. 

6. What does ‘good’ look like for companies in Health & Social Care? 

“Employers should be obliged to look after provision of care for employees,” Paul Johnson said, as he suggested offering benefits such as virtual GPs to make life easier for care teams. 

It’s no secret Health & Social Care employers need to make the sector more attractive to those contemplating a career in care, and many of the points we’ve discussed already would be important steps towards that.  

The sector still needs staffing providers, but these businesses are maturing. They’re no longer solely focused on recruitment. Now, they’re increasingly providing more services, like training or expanding recruitment efforts internationally.  

7. What obstacles could we remove to transform the Health & Social Care system? 

As trusts are breaking away with increasing autonomy to make their own decisions, we need to expedite decision making in the NHS and social care, Paul Johnson told us.  

Garry McCord and David Lynes brought the discussion back to innovation, saying the NHS needs to allow their ICS, ICBs and trusts to use new tech suppliers where the data shows there’s been success and improved outcomes. Data which many of these suppliers possess in abundance. The government needs to accept tech is here to stay. Tech is the future. And if we’re going to simplify and improve the system, the risk aversion and bureaucracy must go. 

8. Finally, if you had a magic wand and one wish to improve the Health & Social Care system, what would it be? 

James Silk suggested an openness to try new things. David Lynes spoke of removing bureaucracy, simplifying systems and removing hurdles. Garry McCord wished for more funding to keep up with the ageing population. And Paul Johnson asked to stop moving the furniture and creating new initiatives before existing ideas have landed and settled.  

How many of those wishes will have come true when our sixth annual Healthcare event arrives in 2024? Only time will tell. For now, if you’d like to catch up on all the key points from James Silk’s excellent talk earlier in the evening, covering the challenges, trends and opportunities in Health & Social Care M&A, head here. 

 

On Thursday 25 May, Health & Social Care business leaders and industry experts flocked to London’s Royal Society of Medicine for Cooper Parry Corporate Finance’s fifth annual Healthcare event.

On the agenda: an exploration into the future of Health & Social Care and innovation’s role in shaping it, led by guest speakers and panel participants at the forefront of the space’s challenges and transformations.

The first of those speakers was James Silk, Partner at CIL Management Consultants. James leads the Healthcare & Life Sciences practice at CIL – a global growth strategy consultancy, focusing on M&A support, value creation, pricing strategy and analytics.

After being included in HealthInvestor’s 2022 Power50 list as a sector specialist, James joined us to share the advice he gives to management teams and investors across Healthcare, Social Care and Life Sciences, and his views on current M&A interest in the space.

As the clinking drinks and lively chatter died down, James took to the stage. Below, you’ll find a summary of everything we learnt in a nugget-filled session.

THERE’S OPTIMISM BEYOND THE HEADLINES

Despite the backdrop of widespread challenges in the news, there is still a lot of positive activity going on in Health & Social Care, James told us.

The primary demographic across the sector remains relatively familiar. People are getting older. People are getting sicker. But they’re still rich. While growth is low, it’s consistent, robust and can be relied upon – more like a Skoda than a Ferrari – which is a big positive from an investor standpoint.

It’s not all about the older demographic, however. Mental health challenges among young people have encouraged investors to look for opportunities to support businesses in and around these areas. Plus, in the specialist care space, there is a robust population of people of all ages that need support, and anything that businesses can do to address those needs will remain important for investors.

THE SAME CHALLENGES STILL EXIST

Staffing remains tough for businesses in the space. Unemployment is stubbornly low. And while there’s a narrative around The Great Retirement, The Great Sickness is more relevant, explained James.

The number of people off work with long term sickness has increased from 1 million pre-Covid to around 2.5 million this year. Add in the growing impact this has on the Health & Social Care space, and there’s a vicious cycle flowing through.

Currently, the hospital waiting list here is the same as the population of Switzerland, and there’s a hidden waiting list of 3 million more people too.

But, it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s a big opportunity for providers helping to ease this backlog and investors want to back these kinds of businesses. Several private equity houses have established Impact Funds to invest in companies creating social or environmental change. And infrastructure investors continue to invest in a whole range of social care assets.

WHAT ARE INVESTORS LOOKING FOR?

Investor demand exists in a number of areas of Health & Social Care. Particularly, pathway management businesses making the care journey smoother for patients, businesses taking demand away from the NHS, either through outsourced contracts or private pay, and businesses helping the NHS to find ways of tackling the waiting lists.

The quality of your business remains front and centre in the investors’ priorities, especially given the regulators’ growing powers and the importance of public opinion to investors.

So, ask yourself these questions. How differentiated are you? How do you ensure a commitment to quality and think about risk management? How have you grown? What evidence and data do you have to prove all the above? And where does your business go if a PE exit occurs?

If this has sparked any questions of your own about considering private equity investment or selling your business, when the time is right, we’d love to chat. Get in touch with us, below.

Whilst the government remains keen to continue to incentivise UK companies to carry out research and development (‘R&D’), there has been a great deal of talk about the effectiveness of the R&D tax relief schemes currently offered to businesses.

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

At present, there are two regimes, one offered to small and medium enterprises (‘SMEs’) and a separate less generous scheme offered to large companies.

Following recent consultations with taxpayers, advisers and HMRC, the government believe that the large company scheme offers better ‘value for money’ than the SME scheme, generating a healthier return in terms of value generated through encouraging R&D. The Government has also reported less instances of abuse of the large company scheme when compared to the more generous SME regime.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, the positive press given to the large company scheme has been reflected in the Treasury announcing an increase in the rate of the large company R&D benefit, with a concurrent reduction in the benefit provided by the SME scheme. These changes will take place from 1 April 2023.

The next step now seems to be the potential harmonisation of the two schemes to create one ‘large company style’ regime. As such, HM Treasury have commenced a period of consultation, inviting stakeholders to contribute their thoughts.

The new single scheme has been publicised as being a measure to ‘simplify the R&D tax system in line with the Government’s overall plans for tax simplification’ stating that in actual fact ‘the UK is unusual in having two schemes’.

But what does this mean for existing R&D intensive companies, particularly SMEs who have, over the years, been significant beneficiaries of the cash benefits the scheme provides?

WHAT’S BEING CONSIDERED?

We look at some of the potential changes and questions the Consultation addresses:

The questions raised above are just a few being placed on the table. If you would like to read the full consultation, please click here.

What’s next?

The Consultation is open until 13 March 2023, following which the rules for the new single scheme are likely to be formed, with it potentially being in place by 1 April 2024. If you would like to discuss the implications of this new scheme or your thoughts on any of the points raised, please contact your normal contact in the CP Innovation Team.

With the UK Corporation Tax rate set to rise from 19% to 25% from 1 April 2023, it feels counter-intuitive that the UK Government is still ending the 130% Super Deduction (SD) Relief a day earlier.

Companies will now have less generous tax reliefs available to offset against increasing tax liabilities. Unless the Government heeds the advice from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) by replacing/extending this relief (and past Chancellors do have a habit of pulling last minute rabbits out the hat come Budget time), then it’s vitally important for companies to maximise this relief before it’s too late.

Quick Recap: Super Deduction (SD)

The SD provides a 130% first-year allowance on qualifying ‘Main Rate Pool’ plant and machinery assets and a 50% first-year allowance on qualifying ‘Special Rate Pool’ assets. If it is not available, relief is reduced to the default writing down rates of 18% and 6% per annum.

So, what’s the big deal?

Without stating the obvious, companies can get an additional 30% of free relief from the government on their capital expenditure – and the relief is uncapped. Furthermore, the relief provides a substantial acceleration of savings in the first year.

For example, on a typical £10m office fit out project;

Beware, Beware

As with anything in tax, what may sound great as a headline tends to be punctuated by a number of conditions that can easily be overlooked or misunderstood. Companies take note of the following;

Overall, it’s worth reviewing timelines of capex budgets to potentially bring forward costs, where possible, to maximise the SD before the deadline.

What About Other Tax Reliefs?

If the Super Deduction isn’t available, fear not as there are other reliefs including;

There are plenty of tax reliefs available on capital expenditure works from the most generous at 150% all the way down to 3%. The key things to consider are timings, conditions and actual benefits realised.

At Cooper Parry, we can help you ensure all bases are covered and no stone is left unturned in the quest to maximise total tax relief for you. Get in touch with Ronak Shah, our Capital Allowances Director, at ronaks@cooperparry.com, or speak to him at our upcoming FD Spring Seminar ’23.

Haven’t signed up yet? Find out more here.

 

Seen the recent news about the multimillion-pound sale of Trunki? The makers of the children’s colourful ride-on suitcases. Given all the headlines we figure it’s a good time to revisit the chat we had with Rob Law from a few years back in 2020. 

Having been rejected by the Dragons’ Den who described Trunki as a ‘worthless company’, Rob’s proven them wrong. Big time. With sales of over 5 million Trunki cases since his disastrous pitch in 2006, Rob went on to be one of the most successful entrepreneurs rejected by the Dragons. The company has won over 120 awards including The National Business Awards SME of the Year and Rob has received an MBE for Services to Business. 

Rob spoke to us as part of a series of HUB CP online events put on during lockdown. He talks candidly about that Dragons’ Den experience. How you can overcome knock-backs, defy the odds in life and business and achieve unprecedented success, even when the odds are stacked against you. 

We’ve selected some short snippets for you to enjoy below. 

You can also view the full chat which is just under an hour long here

THE ONE ABOUT BEING IN THE DEN – 1M 34S

THE ONE ABOUT OVERCOMING CHALLENGES – 1m 17s

THE ONE ABOUT MINDSET – 1m 11s

Thanks to their strong credentials in the health & social care and technology sectors our Corporate Finance team has been involved with another major deal.

Signis Limited, which trades under the tri.x brand, has been sold by its parent company Antser Holdings advised by Cooper Parry. tri.x will be joining OneTouch to form a comprehensive healthtech and compliance group, backed by August Equity.

tri.x is the market leader in the provision of effective online adult and children’s social care policies and procedures solutions, supporting all Local Authorities across England.  It has been part of Birmingham based Antser Group since it was acquired in 2019.

August is a long-term investor into the social care sector, with particular emphasis on businesses with technology-led applications; OneTouch and tri.x bring together two excellent businesses serving the social care commissioners and providers in delivering a high-quality service. Together they form a strong platform with highly complementary software and product offerings.

Richard Dooner, CEO of Antser Holdings, said:

“Cooper Parry helped us complete an attractive sale in a relatively short timeframe, given the requirement to carveout a retained business. The prior relationship Cooper Parry had with the buyer helped us to quickly build mutual trust that we had the best buyer and helped drive an efficient sale process.”

Andy Parker our Head of Corporate Finance said of the deal:

“With our focus on both healthcare and technology and following on from our recent sale of Nourish Care Systems to private equity, tri.X represented an exciting opportunity to use our market knowledge and deal-making skills.  The team at Antser did a superb job supporting the transaction and committing to support the new business as it merges under August’s direction”