Billionaire-owned care group gave staff £11m in Covid bonus payments

Barchester is owned by JP McManus, John Magnier and Dermot Desmond

Barchester, a UK nursing home group owned by three Irish billionaires, last year made Covid-19 bonus payments of £11.4 million (€13m) to its frontline staff “in recognition of their exceptional hard work” during the pandemic. The bonus payments to the frontline employees are disclosed in new accounts for Barchester Healthcare Ltd, which is in the top four care home providers in the UK.

The group is co-owned by JP McManus, John Magnier and Dermot Desmond.

The £11.4 million in bonus payouts made by Barchester in 2021 followed similar Covid-19 bonus payments of £4.3 million in 2020.

The bonus payment last year contributed to pretax 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.


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

In notes with the accounts, chairman John Coleman said: “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.”

Barchester also paid enhanced sick pay to those who tested positive for Covid-19. Its sick pay bill last year totalled £4.2 million.

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

Barchester received UK government grants of £23 million to assist during the Covid-19 pandemic, spilt between the Infection Control Fund from central government and local Covid supports.

Numbers employed last year fell by 465 to 14,962, while staff costs increased by 4.5 per cent to £389.96 million.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times