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Grim pandemic outlook sees homecare business booming

This is an auspicious time for the medicalised homecare sector, albeit for a tragic reason. Providers of drugs, medical equipment such as oxygen, and healthcare services to the patient’s home will see a COVID-fuelled boost in demand over the next few years.

Even before the pandemic hit, medicalised homecare providers were resting on strong market fundamentals. Demand was on the rise due to ageing populations coupled with a rise in co-morbidity illnesses requiring long-term monitoring. Organisations from hospitals to nursing home groups have integrated homecare services into their activities; digital innovators have looked to improve their delivery through digital monitoring platforms and wearables.

But add a viral pandemic to the mix and suddenly homecare takes on a whole new importance. Hospitals in Argentina have asked homecare companies to provide specialist care to quarantined or at-risk patients in hotels. In France, one of the country’s largest nursing home groups has seen an almost 30% boost in homecare activity as the elderly look for safer ways to be cared for.

This year alone, the sector has seen significant M&A movement. In January, PE firm Ardian bought France’s third-largest medicalised homecare group Sante Cie – then entered Germany with its acquisition of Aposan. SOL Group’s medicalised oxygen arm Vivisol made further inroads into the UK market and in Switzerland. In May, Italian oxygen group Sapio entered the French market with Homeperf. Now Dutch player Mediq is entering a process to find a new owner, after eight years with PE firm Advent International. It is likely to go for a hefty (€1bn plus) price.

Policy is also improving. Germany was drafting a reform to the financing of its already well-funded (but expensive) long-term care system this year, which would bring fresh new capital to an already dynamic intensive care sector. In France, plans have been laid to find at least €2.3bn for the long-term care sector by 2024 and the UK is also in the midst of rethinking its financing of social care in response to the pandemic.

As we roll into 2021, investors will be looking for new assets to add to their portfolios and the medicalised homecare sector won’t be short of options. Expect funds to be sniffing around German Gesundheits and UK-based City & County Healthcare in particular – both of which failed to sell last year. Healthcare at Home might also be looking for a buyer soon.

Sadly, the future of the pandemic is uncertain; but the future of homecare, because of that, looks all the brighter.

We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to Anaïs Charles or call 0207 183 3779.