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30 November 2018 | Childcare & Education

Iceland based nursery group expands into the UK following acquisition of Scottish nursery

Specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co has sold Elmwood Nursery School in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire to Iceland based nursery group, Hjalli Model Ltd, marking the group’s first venture into the UK.

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Situated in one of the most sought after locales in the Glasgow area, Elmwood has an effective operating capacity for 87 children. As one of only East Renfrewshire council partner nurseries, the setting is well regarded within the local community and with the Care Inspectorate. 



The impressive, long-standing family owned business was established 18 years ago by Denise Bunis, who decided to sell the nursery to pursue a new challenge. She leaves behind a fantastic legacy and a reputable nursery with a nurturing environment, where staff and parents work together to create a warm and caring atmosphere for all children. 

Denise Bunis, Founder and CEO of Elmwood Nursery School comments, “Elmwood is a safe and loving environment, regarded as ‘a home away from home,’ where parents can safely leave their children with the knowledge that their child is being cared for and educated to the very highest standard.

“When I made the decision to sell the nursery after setting up and running Elmwood for 18 years, it was paramount that the sale was handled correctly. As a forerunner in nursery sales, I enlisted the help of Christie & Co to facilitate the process as I knew how challenging and stressful the process would be. Martin Daw and Emma Govan, who handled the sale, were incredibly professional and supportive throughout especially during the inevitably stressful homestretch. My presale criteria to them had been to ensure a confidential sale, to bring me a suitable buyer who would take Elmwood forward and to deliver the correct price – and I can happily say that they delivered on all three.”

Dame Margrét Pála Ólafsdóttir, CEO of Hjalli Model has dedicated her life to the wellbeing of young children. She has developed an ideology and responsive methods to create an educational model with a focus on the critical issues of our time, including democracy, creativity and gender equality. Having operated nurseries, preschools and schools for over 30 years, Hjalli Model is now the largest leading educational firm of its kind in Iceland.

Margrét Pála Ólafsdóttir comments, “We are very proud to have been chosen from among the many interested parties to take the helm at Elmwood. We aim to cherish and embrace the existing culture of the nursery while at the same time enriching the learning environment with some new and exciting ideas.”

Martin Daw, Senior Director at Christie & Co handled the sale and comments, “We are excited to have married this specialist Icelandic operator with such a wonderful Scottish business. It is great to see Scotland recognised by international operators like Margrét Pála and her team, and we would like to wish Denise every success for the future. 

“The early years market in Scotland is busier than ever as operators prepare for the planned increase to 1,140 hours of funded childcare in 2020. Some are looking to exit in advance of the changes, while others see this as an opportunity to grow their market share.”