Backed by its management and the three musketeers of the Irish entrepreneurial world, John Magnier, Dermot Desmond and JP McManus, this company has gone a long way in a short time. It had 15 nursing homes in 2001. It has since acquired more than 20 other home operators, the largest being Westminster Health Care, which it bought from 3i last year for £525m, taking it to 163 homes. Barchester Healthcare was founded in 1993 by Mike Parsons, a former advertising executive, after he had to put an elderly aunt in care and was shocked at the standard of homes. His idea was to offer upmarket hotel-style homes, with gourmet food, well-designed buildings and a high staff-to-resident ratio. The formula has worked, growing sales 68% a year from £27.5m in 2001 to £130.4m in 2004. They are expected to double this year.
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