Why German nursing home operators won’t be rattled by a single regulation

The first month of 2020 has already seen a couple of deals go through in Germany’s most competitive healthcare market. Even a new regulation which came into force in September last year which stipulated that at least 80% of rooms in all facilities must be singles appears not to be dampening market enthusiasm for already established homes. Why is it so buoyant?

Alloheim, the country’s second-largest nursing home provider by revenue, has recently acquired the Mohring Group and the Vital Wohnen Group, both active in North Rhine Westphalia. Vital Wohnen is a subsidiary of Mohring, jointly managed with a real-estate developer. The deal will see 324 beds added to Alloheim’s stock from Mohring, two assisted living facilities, an outpatient nursing service and a daycare centre. Vital transfers 461 beds, with an additional 391 beds to be opened in the next two years. Altogether this will bump Alloheim’s total to 24,000 beds in Germany.

Elsewhere, private equity firm Quadriga Capital has ventured back into the fray by acquiring a group and a portfolio of six care homes. It used to be on the market with Dorea Group before it sold its portfolio to French consolidator Maisons de Famille in December 2018. It’s now backing Medical-Senioren Park, a group with 550 beds across five facilities and a rehabilitation clinic for women suffering from addiction with 60 places. Quadriga is also acquiring a portfolio of six homes from Convivo, for a total of 700 beds across Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Niedersachen, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg.

Neither buyer seems to have been rattled by the new regulations, which enforces the Landesheimbauverordnung law of 2009 stating all nursing home residences are entitled to the choice of a single room. Why? There is potential for this law to put a real stick in the wheels of operators’ growth strategies as they redirect funds to make their current stock regulation-proof.

But instead of being a strict single room policy, the law seems to emphasise choice – if residents want to be in double rooms (after all, single rooms can get lonely, especially if you’re not mobile), then they can do that too. Providers are working on the assumption that not everyone will want to be alone.

Operators can also appeal against the changes if they find them “unreasonable for economic reasons”, giving established facilities a strong argument to circumnavigate the issue. Nothing, it seems, can turn investors off Europe’s most dynamic healthcare market – which is still going strong at a rate of a few deals every month. Only residents – should they start to shun their fellow pensioners and find a penchant for privacy – look likely to derail this.

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