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Southern Cross transfers 250 homes

Southern Cross has handed over a third of its care homes to new operators as it prepares to close down later this year, while Four Seasons Health Care has announced it plans to eventually take over operations at 140 of the failed operator’s homes. 

Southern Cross today transferred around 250 homes to around 20 new operators, including to firms that were already Southern Cross landlords. Exact figures were unavailable as a minority of handovers have been delayed.

Four Seasons announced today that it has taken over 57 homes and will ultimately take over operations at a total of 140 homes, which includes the 45 homes it has leased to Southern Cross as a landlord. The remaining homes are due to transfer by the end of October.

The handovers will make Four Seasons the UK’s biggest care home operator once Southern Cross ceases trading later this year. Four Seasons chief executive Dr Peter Calveley said: “These homes are an important strategic addition to our organisation and significantly increase our capacity and regional cover.

“They represent a good fit with our existing homes portfolio. I am gratified that the landlords have placed their confidence in Four Seasons as their preferred operator and I am pleased to welcome the Southern Cross employees and residents to the Four Seasons Health Care Group.”

Southern Cross confirmed that all remaining handovers will occur in October and November. HC-One, the new operating company formed by NHP, Southern Cross’s biggest landlord, and Court Cavendish, the healthcare consulting business run by former Priory chief executive Chai Patel, is due to take over 249 homes on 1 November.

However, Southern Cross also revealed that handover procedures have not yet been finalised for all its care homes. It said it had so far entered into unconditional business purchase agreements for about 70% of its care home portfolio.

The group has said that none of its homes will close and that the vast majority of its 43,000 staff will be kept on, with care home staff transferring to the new operating companies. HC-One is taking on the company’s Darlington-based back office workers.

Southern Cross also announced today that Christopher Fisher had resigned as chairman. Fisher took on the position in April 2011 at the height of the company’s much-publicised financial troubles.
"Now that the transfer of homes has commenced, I consider my role complete,” he said.

Posted on: 30/09/2011

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