Highfield Group is one of the few companies in the Profit Track 100 league table to increase turnover at a faster rate than profits. The nursing home operator, set up in 1986 by ex-army brothers Anthony and Martin Joyce, together with Martin’s wife Meriel, has found its margins squeezed as a nation-wide shortage of nurses has driven up labour costs. Highfield is now one of the UK’s largest providers of nursing and residential care, with 4,400 staff working in 78 homes across the UK. Around 85% of its clients are local authorities.Based in Edinburgh, the Group’s profits grew by 57% pa, from £1.7m in 1995 to £6.5m in 1998. Sales increased by 70% pa in the same period to £43.3m. Aside from labour, other costs have remained stable, enabling Highfield to increase profits in line with sales.Sales growth has been largely driven by a programme of acquisitions funded by venture capitalists Apax Partners, and has earned Highfield Group a place three years running on the Fast Track 100 league table of the UK’s fastest growing companies.
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