Lawrence started in business importing ski boats and classic cars into the UK. Borrowing £526k from his local bank in 1988, he bought out his parents care home company. From these seeds grew Tri-Care which later became Orchard Care Homes.
Spotting a gap in the market for bespoke purpose built care homes, he went on to design, build and operate new facilities, establishing LNT Construction in 1991. For the last 4 years LNT Construction has built 20-25% of all the new elderly care homes in the UK, operating under a vertically integrated model since 2008 when Lawrence purchased their main subcontractors for cash. LNT Construction’s sister company, LNT Care Developments is now dedicated to finding land for LNT Construction, selling their care facility schemes.
Lawrence launched further businesses including LNT Software, which develops and sells bespoke software for the care home industry. LNT Software’s care home management programme, CoolCare, is now installed in approximately 1,000 care homes across the country.
An interesting addition to the LNT Group was LNT Solutions in 2002, a chemical company that Lawrence bought from his motor-racing instructor in the pub following a track day. The business initially produced domestic products which, whilst demonstrating good technology, were not best suited to business-consumer sales.
Having identified the potential of this technology for industrial applications, it now been developed by LNT Solutions to create some of the most innovate and forward thinking products in the climate protection systems market. LNT Solutions supply the whole of network rail with a chemical that stops the trains slipping on the ‘wrong types of leaves’ that fall on the railway line, de-ices the third rail and supplies runway and aeroplane wing de-icer to airports across North America and Northern Europe.
In 2005 Lawrence acquired Ginetta, which has been building race cars since 1958. Since its purchase by LNT, Ginetta has grown to become one of the most significant players on the global motorsport scene.
With racing pedigree throughout the business; Lawrence, Team LNT and Ginetta have raced at Le Mans with Lawrence himself winning the GT2 class at the 24 hours of Le Mans in 2006. Lawrence’s significant contribution to engineering has been recognised by three Honorary Doctorates from Leeds Metropolitan University, the University of Huddersfield, the University of Bradford and the University of Bolton.
Lawrence sold Orchard Care Homes in 2007 for a headline figure of £180m.
Lawrence re-entered the care sector in 2009 when he set up the innovative Ideal Carehomes. Since 2009 LNT Construction has built over 40 care homes for Ideal Carehomes alone. With a full portfolio of newly built care homes and a commitment to high quality care, Ideal Carehomes was soon achieving sector-beating occupancy levels.
LNT Chairman Lawrence was appointed as one of two “Entrepreneurs in Residence” in mid-2013. The position was a one year post, based in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, in which Lawrence was tasked with identifying areas for growth and educating the Department on how entrepreneurs ‘tick’. He spent his time identifying barriers the Department could remove for businesses to enable them to flourish, reporting into senior civil servants and Business Secretary at the time, Vince Cable MP and Business Minister, Michael Fallon MP.
In November, with the support of the Department for Business, he published a report on his findings on banks treatment of SMEs in the “Tomlinson Report”. This prompted a Financial Conduct Authority investigation into the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Following the successful expansion of Ideal Carehomes, at this point with 40 homes, in September 2015 Anchor Trust bought 25 care homes. The deal was valued in excess of £100m.
Ideal Carehomes has retained 15 care homes and are concentrating on further improving their service to residents.
The story continues…