Mears is preparing to buy a firm in the elderly care services sector for £22m, after announcing a double-digit rise in pre-tax profit.

The social housing maintenance specialist will offer shareholders of Careforce 0.46 Mears shares for each Careforce share. Michael Rogers, Careforce’s chief executive, will join the board of Mears as an executive director, responsible for the group’s care division.

Mears announced a pre-tax profit of £12.5m for the year ended 31 December, up 28% on the previous year. Turnover increased to £241m, an increase of 19%.

Bob Holt, executive chairman of Mears, said: “There are enormous opportunities for our existing business and the sector we’re moving into. I’m confident these factors will take us to new levels in 2007 and beyond.”