Parents offered first chance to invest in Bertram Bonds as nursery group seeks to expand

The award-winning Bertram Nursery Group has launched the Bertram Bond on the crowd-funding platform, Crowdcube, in a bid to raise up to £3m.

The Edinburgh-based childcare provider, which owns and operates 37 nurseries in Scotland and the North West of England, plans to expand and has already secured £3.5m in debt financing via Rockpool Investments Ltd, following an offer to its high net worth investors last year.

The Bertram Bond, which in the first instance is being offered to parents and grandparents of children attending Bertram nurseries, offers investors the opportunity to invest from £500 or more for a four year minimum term. The Bond will pay out a fixed rate of return of 8% per annum, with a 5% discount off all childcare fees at any Bertram nursery for the eldest child or grandchild of any bondholder. This will increase to a 10% discount should the bondholder invest at least £10,000 of Bertram Bonds. Investors should note that investments in mini-bonds carry risks as well as rewards,

With a potential £6.5m in investment capital, Bertram aims to acquire a number of new nurseries and upgrade existing sites and facilities to increase capacity. With a healthy pipeline of potential acquisitions and planned improvements in place, Bertram expects to make quick progress over the next 12 twelve months.

This continues a trend which has seen Bertram grow from a single nursery in 2002 to a business with over 630 staff offering nearly 3,000 places for children across Scotland and in Manchester and Liverpool. In 2014, Bertram successfully acquired the four-strong Oranges and Lemons group in Dundee and it is currently the 8th largest nursery chain in the UK with an annual turnover of over £14m. 

The key to success has been that every nursery in the Bertram Group is run as a semi-autonomous business with its own local management team and bank account.  When nurseries join Bertram they are not re-branded so retain the existing name, staff and facilities. The essence and ethos of each individual nursery remains true to the community it serves but Bertram brings the additional investment to enable refurbishment and enhancement through the provision of further services. These range from speech therapy and foreign language lessons to dance teachers, yoga classes, horse riding and outdoor learning. To assist parents, Bertram provides services like hairdressing for the children, parcel acceptance and dry cleaning collection.

Launching the Bertram Bond, the company’s CEO Graeme Scott said:

 “A lot of the bigger private equity-backed nursery groups are run to a clearly defined formula and the nurseries are a homogenised brand.  Bertram takes a different approach believing that the nurseries are there to serve local communities and each one needs investment in care, teaching, staff training and IT tailored to suit the needs of its own community.

 “I believe this is the secret to our ongoing growth. We have excellent and committed local management teams committed to constantly improving the services at our nurseries.  Owners have trusted Bertram knowing that when they sell to us we will preserve all the good things about the nursery they have built up and keep the staff – all we will do is provide further enhancement to create an even better environment which combines education and social development for the children in our care.

“I now hope that our track record will inspire investors – and particularly the parents and grandparents of the children already in our care – to get involved in a successful and growing operation.”

Graeme Scott founded Bertram in 2002 with the purchase of a former nursing home in Edinburgh which was converted into a 100 place nursery.  This was followed by the addition of nurseries in Aberdeen and Glasgow and Central Scotland. In 2008, the acquisition of the nine-location Holyrood Nursery Group nurseries provided expansion into the North of England. 

Bertram has won a number of awards, including Nursery World Group of the Year in 2013.

Notes to editors:

  • The UK day nursery market remains fragmented with 80% of nurseries owned by independent single site operators.

The Bertram Bond:

  • The Bonds will be allocated on a first come first served basis up to the maximum limit of £3m (minimum £500,000)
  • Minimum investment size is £500 and in multiples of £500 thereafter
  • The fixed gross rate of return is 8% per annum in cash. Interest will be paid quarterly
  • The Bonds have a minimum term of 4 years and then can be cashed in on every anniversary thereafter, at the option of the Bondholder and with six months’ notice
  • Bonds are transferable in whole on any day except 15 business days before and including a payment date, beginning 12 months after issue
  • A 5% discount off monthly childcare costs at any BNG day nursery for a child or grandchild of any bondholder; a 10% discount off monthly childcare costs at any BNG day nursery for a child or grandchild of any bondholder who invests at least £10,000 of Bertram Bonds. As an illustrative example these discounts represent £572 per year at a 5% discount, and £1,144 per year at a 10% discount, for a 2 year old child attending our Altrincham nursery on a full-time basis.  Rewards Terms & Conditions The 5% discount off all childcare fees or 10% discount for subscribers of more than £10,000 are only available to one child or grandchild of bond holders whose name appears on the bond register. The discount will be withdrawn upon repayment of the bond. The discount cannot be transferred when the bond is transferred.  The discount is only available to the original bond holder for their oldest child where more than one eligible child regularly attend any nursery. When the older child leaves nursery, the discount could be applied to the next eldest child at nursery and so on provided the bond holder retains the bonds.  The discount will be payable by means of a rebate of the amount due every six months where no monies are outstanding for that family. The discount does not apply to any government funding received on behalf of that child.

About Crowdcube:

As the world’s first and most successful investment crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube enables start-up, early and growth stage businesses to bypass the traditional business angel, venture capital or bank finance routes, giving them more control, flexibility and access to more investors. For investors, Crowdcube provides them with a way to cherry-pick an equity stake in an innovative start-up or earn a fixed return per annum by lending money to more established organisations offering a mini-bond on Crowdcube.

Investing involves risk and should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio. Investing equity in start-ups and early stage businesses involves risks, including illiquidity, lack of dividends, loss of investment and dilution. Mini-bonds can be unsecured, non-convertible and non-transferable. Crowdcube is targeted exclusively at investors who are sufficiently sophisticated to understand these risks and make their own investment decisions. Crowdcube Capital Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 650205).

Capital at risk. Investments of this nature carry risks to your capital and interest repayments are not guaranteed. Please #InvestAware

Approved as a financial promotion by Crowdcube Capital Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (no. 650205)

For further information please contact:  

Lizzy Lambley or Felicity MacFarlane, Indigo

Tel: 0131 554 1230

Mob: 079657 374330 or 07584 672 301

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Quick facts

Operating 37 nurseries in Scotland and the North West of England
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Nearly 3,000 nursery places and over 630 employees
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Quotes

I hope that our track record will inspire investors
Graeme Scott, CEO of Bertram Nursery Group