Perth-based Balhousie Care Group is planning to make a £6 million investment in its facilities after strong financial results.
Balhousie saw a turnover increase last year despite the “unprecedented challenges” of the pandemic.
It is almost exactly 30 years since company founder Tony Banks bought his first care home in Kirriemuir.
Now, Balhousie is one of Scotland’s largest care groups, with 26 homes providing care to more than 900 residents.
Newly filed accounts for Balhousie Care Limited show turnover rose to £34.7m for the year ending September 30 2020. This compares to sales of £34m in 2019. Pre-tax profits remained steady at £3.2m.
Covid-19 costs weigh on profits
Chief executive Jill Kerr said the increase in sales came despite lower occupancy with staff costs impacting on margin.
She said: “The pandemic has been challenging to the entire care sector, impacting occupancy, staff recruitment and retention and the daily life in each care home.
“The directors are immensely proud of the staff teams who continue to care for our residents in these challenging times.
“The company has achieved a 2% increase in turnover from 2019, despite lower occupancy.
“Recruitment retention of staff remain critical to the delivery of quality care and the care sector as a whole is experiencing challenging attracting talent.
“These challenges have resulted in additional costs associated with staffing, which have reduced margins during 2020.”
In March Balhousie said costs associated with Covid-19 had been more than £500,000.
The firm described the stress and anxiety felt by employees as more than 40 residents, all with underlying health conditions, died from Covid-19.
Balhousie said its strict safety measures meant its Covid infection rate was below the national average.
“The decision to lock down the homes to non-essential visitors early, combined with rigorous infection control procedures, has resulted in 38% of our facilities having confirmed cases, lower than the average across the sector,” Ms Kerr said.
It piloted rapid response tests as a method of early detection of the virus among staff. This facilitated in-home visitation to start again.
Balhousie investment plans
The care group is now planning to spend £6m improving its facilities.
Ms Kerr said: “Caring for our residents and staff has never been more important. That’s why we have invested heavily in making our homes even more safe and secure.
“This solid financial performance gives us the platform we need to continue to invest in our facilities.
“Plans are in place for £6m investment in extensions and refurbishments for our Wheatlands care home in Bonnybridge and Moyness care home in Broughty Ferry, as well as plans to develop new facilities across Perthshire, Dundee, Angus and in Stirlingshire.”
Balhousie won an £800,000 tax battle with HMRC in April relating to its purchase of Huntly Care Home in 2013.
The chief executive said 2020 will be remembered as one of the most challenging in Balhousie’s 30 year history.
She praised staff for their efforts throughout the pandemic.
“The threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on us as a business and as people,” she said.
“We are immensely grateful and proud of the exceptional care our staff have shown and continue to show to our residents.”