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Singapore investor takes stake in Busy Bees to back childcare group's Asian expansion

By Simon Penfold | Burntwood | Business | Published:

A Singapore investment company has taken a stake in Staffordshire-based child care group Busy Bees as it expands in Asia.

John Woodward & Marg Randles, two of the founders of Busy Bees childcare group

Busy Bees has worked in Singapore for the last two years after buying 70 nurseries there and in Malaysia. It also has a businessin China. Now Singapore finance group Temasek has taken a 'strategic minority stake' in the business.

The value of the deal is not being revealed, but the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan remains the majority shareholder of the Burntwood based business, which has grown into a £250m a year operation providing care for 50,000 children across nearly 500 nurseries in the UK, the Far East and Canada.

The Temasek deal will support further growth for Busy Bees across Asia and worldwide.

Co-founder Marg Randles, the group's chief academic officer, said: “Our aim when we started the company, over 33 years ago, was to provide high quality care, and exceptional learning opportunities to each and every child in our care. This is something, that even as we’ve expanded has remained our main priority as we’ve developed an international group, that all shares our standards values, passion, and ambitions for the future.

“We are also grateful to Ontario Teachers’, who have supported our ambitions over the past four years and have been, and continue to be, a truly exceptional partner. Temasek's international expertise and insight will help us to accelerate our global growth and we’re excited that this will enable Busy Bees to provide even more children access to high quality childcare.”

Busy Bees chief executive Simon Irons said: "The addition of Temasek as a strategic partner comes as we seek to unlock new opportunities and allows Busy Bees to continue its path of expansion.

“We are excited that this will enable Busy Bees to provide opportunities for more children to access our high quality childcare."

He added: "We remain indebted to our founders who created our ethos of providing innovative high quality care and learning opportunities for children.

Jo Taylor, senior managing director at Ontario Teacher's, said: "Our strategy is to work with strong, like-minded investors and management teams. The addition of Temasek as a strategic partner comes as we seek to unlock new opportunities across key markets and allows Busy Bees to continue its path of expansion, particularly in Asia."

Temasek is a state-owned holding company that is considered as a national wealth fund owned by the Government of Singapore. It owns and manages a net portfolio worth £158 billion.

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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