Highfield Group claims to be the largest privately-owned residential care company in the UK. Led by chief executive Martin Joyce, it is also the largest employer on the list, directly employing 3,200 people. Focusing on the lower end of the market, many of the elderly and physically disabled people it cares for are subsidised by the government. It attributes success to the fact that instead of converting older buildings, the Edinburgh-based company custom builds facilities to suit the needs of its patients. Growth from 1994 sales of £4.2m to 1997 sales of £29.1m is due primarily to acquisition. Owned 52% by venture capitalists Apax, it owns and operates 68 facilities across Britain. 1998 sales are expected to reach £45m, increasing employees to 4,000. Highfield is considering an IPO in the next two years.
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