Four Seasons eyes Southern Cross homes

FOUR Seasons is to take over 45 of the homes currently being run by the UK’s biggest care home provider, Southern Cross, with plans to keep them open after a revamp.

Four Seasons, which runs a care homes business alongside its hotel chain, currently leases the 45 homes to the struggling Southern Cross, which is in negotiations with its landlords and other creditors to avoid being forced into administration.

As both a rival care provider and landlord, Four Seasons is in a strong position to take over the homes and add them to its own business.

The company has now inspected all of the 45 homes in question and believes that it can integrate them successfully.

It is not yet clear what form the deal would take, but any agreement to keep the homes open would be welcomed by the government, which has been under pressure to intervene to protect Southern Cross’ 31,000 vulnerable residents from the turmoil caused by the company’s problems.

Last week, Southern Cross was granted a month-long extension in its bank lending facilities, giving the company breathing space to continue a four-month restructuring process with its other creditors, many of whom are the landlords of the homes it runs.

Regarding the 45 homes that it leases to Southern Cross, Four Seasons chief executive Pete Calveley told the Financial Times: “We’ve been around all 45 and have no intention of closing any of them.”

He also blamed many of Southern Cross’ problems on “quality of homes and quality assurance”.