Nursing home group owned by Irish billionaires pays €13m in Covid bonuses to frontline staff

ireland
Nursing Home Group Owned By Irish Billionaires Pays €13M In Covid Bonuses To Frontline Staff Nursing Home Group Owned By Irish Billionaires Pays €13M In Covid Bonuses To Frontline Staff
Barchester Healthcare made Covid-19 bonus payments of £11.4 million (€13 million) to its front-line staff “in recognition of their exceptional hard work” during the pandemic. Photo: Getty Images
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Gordon Deegan

The nursing home group owned by three Irish billionaires last year made Covid-19 bonus payments of £11.4 million (€13 million) to its front-line staff “in recognition of their exceptional hard work” during the pandemic.

The Covid-19 bonus payments to the front line employees are disclosed in new accounts for Barchester Healthcare Ltd, which is in the top four of care home providers in the UK.

The group is co-owned by three of Ireland's best known businessmen, JP McManus, John Magnier and Dermot Desmond.

The £11.4 million in bonus payouts made by Barchester in 2021 follows Covid-19 bonus payments of £4.3 million to the group’s front-line staff in 2020.

The bonus payment last year contributed to pre-tax profits declining by 79 per cent to £4.06 million as revenues climbed by 2 per cent or £12.5 million from £663.39 million to £675.9 million.

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Barchester provides 13,754 registered beds across its portfolio of 211 registered services with the largest proportion located within London and the south-east of England.

According to group chairman, John Coleman: "Barchester traded strongly during the year and remained robust during 2021 as it continued in the face of the biggest challenge ever faced by the care sector."

Mr Coleman said that during the second wave of Covid-19 in January 2021 "mercifully, deaths during this wave were significantly fewer than in the first wave of 2020".

Paying tribute to the group’s staff, Mr Coleman said that "our staff are amazing at the best of times but to see their commitment during the most testing period imaginable across the care sector is a real testament to the character of this special group of people."

Barchester also paid enhanced sick pay to those who tested positive for Covid-19 and its sick pay bill last year totalled £4.2 million while the group spent an additional £2.7 million on PPE.

Mr Coleman said that "during 2021, we saw a significant reduction in Covid-19 infections amongst residents, patients and staff and life in our service began to return to a little more normality".

The accounts state that the additional costs as a result of Covid-19 include the purchase of additional cleaning materials, communication costs, training costs and the cost of additional staff hours for testing.

The group’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and rent increased by £4.6 million to £216.8 million.

The group received UK government grants and local Covid supports of £23 million to assist during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Numbers employed last year reduced by 465 to 14,962 that included 14,088 employed in ‘care’ and staff costs last year increased by 4.5 per cent to £389.96 million.

The group recorded operating profit of £31.89 million and interest costs of £27.8 million reduced profits to £4 million.

Directors’ pay last year halved to £1.96 million and the highest paid director was paid £898,000.

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