The boards of both companies recommend the deal

Mears is set to buy care services group Careforce for £22.2m. Under the terms of the deal, Careforce shareholders will receive 0.4552 new Mears shares for every Careforce share held, valuing each share at about 160 pence. Alternatively, shareholders can opt for 150 pence per share in cash.

The news comes as Mears announced profit before tax and amortisation of £12.5m for the year ended 31 December 2006, up 28.4% for the same period last year. Turnover increased to £241.4m for the year ended December 2006, up 18.6% on last year.

Bob Holt

Chairman Bob Holt said: “'I am delighted to announce another year of strong growth in profitability and turnover, our eleventh consecutive year of record profits. The recommended offer for Careforce Group is an expansion of our public sector services into the community domiciliary care provision market. I am confident that these combined factors will take the Group to new levels in 2007 and beyond.” Dividend per share went up 26.9% for the year ended December 2006 to 3.3p.