A social care provider has said it expects to create 500 jobs in Scotland after buying a business based in the country.

Cera Care has acquired Mears Group’s Scottish home care business for up to £2.5 million in a deal that underlined its belief in the growth potential of the market.

The London-based firm bought Mears Group’s operations serving England and Wales in February for up to £5m.

The acquisition of the Scotland Domiciliary Care operation will give Cera a significant presence in Scotland. The operation has 12 offices across the country and 1,000 employees.

Cera said that as a direct result of the acquisition, it will also be creating 500 new jobs in Scotland. The vast majority of these will be in care roles.

Chief executive Ben Maruthappu, said the company expects to benefit from strong demand for its services from people who would like support to be able to stay in their own homes.

READ MORE: Care at home funding issues exposed by coronavirus pandemic

He said there are around a million people aged over 70 in Scotland and that number is increasing. The Covid-19 coronavirus has left many people who live at home requiring help. It has put huge pressure on the NHS.

Mr Maruthappu noted lots of people have lost their jobs amid the crisis and may be interested in moving into care sector work.

Cera said it is actively recruiting people to work in posts across Scotland.

READ MORE: Coronavirus provides huge boost to sales of Borders firm's innovative infection control products

Cera was launched in 2016 as the ageing of the UK population created increasing demand for services targeted at older people. The company says it delivers over 16,000 care visits a day and has 3,300 employees.

It has won backing from private equity investors such as Yabeo Capital and Walking Ventures. Former Standard Chartered banking group boss Peter Sands is chairman of Cera and has shares in the firm.

Cera reckons that by combining digital technology with the visits offered by staff it has improved elderly care services.

The company says it has built machine learning algorithms for elderly care which allow it to predict health deteriorations before they occur. Mr Maruthappa said the technology also allows carers to focus on caring and reduce the amount of time they spend on paperwork.

READ MORE: Scottish care homes sold in £50m deal

Mears said the Scottish Domicillary Care business generated £21.7m revenues in 2019 and a profit contribution of around £0.6m, after an allocation of central support costs.