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This Staffordshire business is the UK’s largest private provider of childcare services, running 359 UK nurseries and 550 sites in total, caring for more than 50,000 children, across the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, China, and Australia. Group chief executive Simon Irons, 55, oversaw the £137m acquisition of Treetops Nurseries last March, which helped sales increase 31% to £327.5m in 2017. In February, it announced plans to open 32 nurseries in China over the next five years.

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Company details
CompanyBusy Bees
ActivityNurseries operator
Sales £m327.5
Operating profit £m15
Main shareholdersOntario teachers Pension Plan (>50%), Temasek and management (<50%)

If applicable:

* supplied by company   † annualised figure   ‡  profit = ebitda