Southern Cross returns care homes to landlords

TROUBLED care home operator Southern Cross started to return its care homes to their owners and transfer its back office functions to a new company as it liquidated yesterday.

The bankrupt care provider said it would move about two thirds of its 752 homes back to their owners by early November while HC-One, a new venture set up by major landlord NHP, will take over operations.

NHP’s 249 homes and another 203 owned by smaller property groups should be transferred this weekend.

Southern Cross will sell the 19 homes it owns, and swap another 11 leasehold properties for a £1m payment it will return to its lenders.

But about a third of homes are as yet unaccounted for. Chairman Christopher Fisher, who steps down this weekend, said the insolvency was “a matter of considerable regret”.