Advice allows fast growing southwest nursery group to scale-up

  • Written By: David Roper
  • Published: Tue, 09 Jan 2018 10:29 GMT

One of the South West’s fastest growing nursery groups has secured £8 million worth of funding in a deal that was brokered by the Bristol office of Smith & Williamson.

Led by David Roper, head of transaction services in Bristol, Happy Days Nurseries now plans to grow the number of venues it operates across the South West while investing in its overall proposition so it maintains the outstanding quality service across its 18 sites.

Based in Cornwall, Happy Days has grown to become the 19th largest nursery chain in the UK with around 1,300 places across the South West.

Providing ongoing as well as strategic advice, David and the team from Smith & Williamson have advised Happy Days for the last eight years across a number of areas including fund raising, audit, tax, PAYE and VAT.

This included securing an original investment from Livingbridge, the private equity firm, which provided the perfect platform for Happy Days to grow. Livingbridge are a leading mid-market private equity firm who support fast growing companies.

More recently David and his team helped Happy Days to secure their latest funding from Santander which will be used to facilitate the businesses’ ambitious expansion plans based on a proved best in class childcare proposition.

Ian Sanders, Finance Director at Happy Days commented “We are very proud of the continued successes of all our nurseries and we are committed as a team to being the premier nursery provider in the South West.

“We have recently been ranked in the top 5 nationally for quality of childcare amongst nursery chains, which clearly demonstrates our credentials. We have had tremendous support from Smith & Williamson and Livingbridge on our growth journey and look forward to working closely with Santander as we implement our next round of expansion.”

David said: “Having represented Happy Days for so long it’s fantastic to see the business do so well. It truly is a great South West success story and we’re delighted to have helped the team all along the journey.

“It is also a great example of how a business can scale-up. With the right advice and determination to succeed anything is possible and we’ll now look forward to working closely with the Happy Days team so that they achieve their growth ambitions which includes the opening of 10 new nurseries from Santander’s current funding.

“The group now employs over 400 people and has ambitious expansion plans to establish new sites so that it can take its quality offering that focuses on the best of childcare, right across the region.

“When a business like this grows so fast, it’s vital it receives the right scale up advice. It means the right processes and protocols are in place to manage the expansion properly.

“Scale-up businesses are widely regarded as being the engine of growth for the UK economy, creating wealth and employment and the scale-up programme we have in place at Smith & Williamson has helped take thousands of ambitious businesses to the next level.

“Our collaborative approach distils issues, opportunities and solutions helping deliver a clear roadmap for growth and the Happy Days Nurseries story is a perfect example of a business following that route.”

By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. This briefing does not constitute advice nor a recommendation relating to the acquisition or disposal of investments. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of writing.

Notes to editors
Smith & Williamson is a leading financial and professional services firm providing a comprehensive range of investment management, tax, financial advisory and accountancy services to private clients and their business interests. The firm’s c1,800 people operate from a network of 11 offices: London, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin (City and Sandyford), Glasgow, Guildford, Jersey, Salisbury and Southampton. Smith & Williamson is part of The Tilney Smith & Williamson Group.

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