17 Nov 2014

Evolve planning childcare acquisitions

1:29 pm on 17 November 2014

Evolve Education Group plans to use more than $132 million it is raising from a share market float to buy a number of businesses that will create the company.

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Evolve plans to buy several early childhood businesses. Photo: PHOTO NZ

The share sale is fully underwritten by Goldman Sachs, which means Evolve already knows it will raise the full $132.3 million.

It plans to buy the 30 Lollipop early childhood centres for a mix of cash and shares, the Porse business, which arranges home-based childcare, and a further 55 childcare centres owned by 39 separate vendors.

Chair Norah Barlow said it was a very exciting opportunity to be involved in the early childhood sector, as she had an interest in women, how they work and how they look after children.

One of the biggest initial risks facing Evolve will be how well it integrates the large number of businesses which will form the basis of the company.

Ms Barlow said Evolve had done its best to minimise the integration risk.

"There certainly is risk and I think in prospectuses, you have to clearly point that out to a watching public," she said.

"But what we've done is we've had an integration team working on this now for the last few months. They will continue working till we see the whole group as fully integrated."

Evolve's chief executive, Alan Wham, was formerly chief executive of Pharmacybrands, now Green Cross Health, for 10 years until mid-last year during, which the company integrated a number of pharmacy brands including Unichem, Radius and Amcal.

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