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Mears takes £87m hit on domiciliary care business disposal

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Mears Group has reported a pre-tax loss of £62 million in 2019 as it continues to dispose of its domiciliary care business.

The group’s domiciliary care units in England and Wales were acquired by Cera for £5m in January, and Mears expects to find a buyer for its domiciliary care business in Scotland before the end of the year.

The repositioning has cost the company £87.2m to date.

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Mears reported revenues for the year to December 31 of £982.6 million, an increase of 13%, driven by the acquisition of MPS Housing and revenue from the Asylum Accommodation and Support contract.

However, accounting for administrative costs, operating loss for the year totalled £53.7m, compared to an operating profit of £30.7m in 2018.

Adding in finance costs and tax bills left Mears with a bottom line loss for the year of £66m, compared to a profit of £24.8 million in 2018.

Mears said in a statement on the London Stock Exchange that it “should be proud” of its achievements in “improving service delivery and the conditions of the workforce” in the domiciliary care sector, but that the industry remains “severely structurally underfunded”.

The group said this made it “impossible” for the group to generate an adequate financial return.

David Miles, chief executive officer of Mears, commented: “I am pleased with the progress of the Group in 2019. We have achieved a solid set of results in a year of political and economic uncertainty, along with delivering a significant repositioning of the business into a more simplified structure as the UK’s leading provider of housing solutions.

“2020 has brought challenges that were unforeseeable only a few weeks ago. Mears is committed to maintaining services to its clients and customers, sustaining its high level of employee skills, motivation and experience and being prudent in respect of cash management.”

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Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

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