Civitas Investment Management has paid £200m (€233m) for a portfolio of specialist-care properties.

The specialist schools and children’s homes were acquired from social care provider CareTech through a sale and leaseback.

Civitas, which says it is the largest investor in specialist care in the UK, has more £3.5bn invested in specialist community healthcare and social infrastructure in Europe.

It manages an estate of over 1,200 properties across the UK, with capacity to provide homes for more than 10,000 people, with care and support provided by over 120 care providers in a combination of supported housing and residential care homes.

CareTech, which was taken private by its co-founders in a £1.1bn transaction earlier this year, provides services supporting around 5,000 adults and children with a range of complex needs in more than 550 schools, residential services, hospitals and day centres.

CareTech employs more than 11,000 staff in the UK and internationally and has an emerging presence in digital technologies.

Tom Pridmore, droup director of Civitas, said: “We are very impressed by the quality of the CareTech portfolio, and we’re pleased to partner with one of the leading care providers in the UK in this landmark transaction.

“Despite the difficult economic backdrop this year, Civitas has continued to invest across the specialist-care sector, based on the strong fundamentals and long-term demand for high-quality specialist-care properties in the UK and Europe.”

Farouq Sheikh, co-founder and executive chairman of CareTech, added: “We are pleased to partner with Civitas, whom we recognise as being one of the leading investors in the specialist social care sector.

“This transaction comprises a small proportion of our £1bn freehold asset portfolio and forms part of our overall strategy which will allow us to continue our growth trajectory in the UK, in digital technologies and international markets.”

Julian Evans, head of healthcare at Knight Frank, which acted as the sole selling agents for CareTech, said: “This is an excellent result for both CareTech and Civitas. The provenance of CareTech complements Civitas’s continued investment into high-quality care facilities and operations.

“The take-private process of CareTech has been complex and, given recent UK economic turbulence, in many ways, reaffirms that this transaction is a flight to quality.”