Clearly advising Bolton’s Verna Group in healthy acquisition


Verna Group – the Bolton-based dynamic group of healthcare businesses – has been acquired by Legal & General Ventures in a £60 million deal.

Advising the management team, Clearwater Corporate Finance assisted the top 30 NHS supplier in a deal which sees its businesses continue supplying 75 per cent of the UK’s hospitals.

Karen Haslam, who has worked with Verna for over 27 years has taken over the reins as chief executive.

Verna’s fast-growing Care Shop subsidiary is one of the largest healthcare mail order suppliers in the UK, distributing over 8,000 healthcare and mobility products to nursing homes nationwide and through five retail outlets.

Employing over 1,500 people the £59 million turnover business will continue its successful growth story through extending its market leading position in hospital infection control and by focusing on the strategic shift of patients and resources to the primary care sector.

One of Bolton’s largest employers, Verna Group is a group of healthcare companies that has aligned its services to the needs of patients undergoing treatment within the NHS system.

From infection control products to the supply of carers who support patients in the home, Verna Group’s services are used in 75 per cent of hospitals in the UK and directly help them to offer better care and safer environment.

Verna Group comprises:

  • Vernacare – Infection control products for healthcare and establishments in both acute and primary care sector
  • Vernatech – healthcare engineering services
  • Care Shop – Healthcare supplies for the primary care sector
  • Verna Community Care – Domiciliary care
  • Karomed – Pressure relieving equipment for the acute and primary care sectors.

Senior debt has been arranged by Bank of Ireland and Scotia Bank.

Mike Reeves, Clearwater partner commented on the deal: “The management buyout has created a great opportunity for the team to take the business forward and further develop its relationships in an extremely important and growing market.”

Verna’s chief executive, Karen Haslam added: “Verna Group has built up a strong foundation for growth over the past seven years. Our success is built on having a clear vision, a focused strategy and a committed workforce both here in Bolton and at our other sites around the UK.

“The NHS is undergoing fundamental changes to its provision, infrastructure and the standard of care expected by patients. With LGV’s support, we are ideally positioned to meet the needs of this newly structured marketplace.”

Bernard Hatton has resigned as chairman and chief executive after more than 30 years in the business. Chris Attrill will join the Verna Board as finance director.